The Cure for Worry!

I have yet to meet a person who does not worry. It’s part of our DNA. Some people are more prone to it than others. It’s just a fact of life; everyone worries to some degree or another.

Jesus understands this.

He doesn’t get mad at us when we worry.

don't worry

But he does let us know that we don’t have to worry. This was one of his main points in the Sermon on the Mount. Here is what he said; “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:25). Then he added, “don’t worry about tomorrow” (verse 34).

“Worry” is an interesting word in the Greek language. It refers to a care or anxiety that is troubling. This kind of worry, according to The Complete Word Study Dictionary, “brings disruption to the personality and the mind.”

Life can be very troubling at times to all of us. This trouble can wreck us on the inside and even shut us down. When this has happened to me, I’ve felt trapped, almost functionally paralyzed. It’s no wonder Jesus tells us not to worry.

But what’s the cure. How can we power through the troubling times? How can we turn worry into peace? Here are three important truths that have helped me.

  • Cast your cares upon Jesus. Both Peter and Paul met with troubles of every kind. Worry could have consumed both of them, but they learned to cast their cares upon the Lord. They both knew the Lord cared for them (1 Peter 5:7), and that his peace would guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6, 7).
  • Give thanks. Paul encourages us to give thanks in all things and even equates this as God’s will. I admit that seems hard to do, especially in the most trying of times. But even in those times…
  1. Jesus is actively working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28).
  2. Jesus is meeting all your needs according to his riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).
  3. Jesus’ love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:7).
  • Seek the mind of Christ. God’s Spirit lives in you. Trust him to give you wisdom for the situation. He will not let you down. His ways will lead to growth and maturity for you.

Yes, we all worry. We get agitated, confused and unsettled about life. When that happens, know that Christ and Christ alone can soothe your heart and ready your mind for the situation. As Proverbs 3:5, 6 states; “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

This is the cure for worry.

Seven things you need to know about repentance

On yesterday’s broadcast, someone asked about repentance. We have discussed this at length before. You can listen to that broadcast  below.

I also spoke about repentance recently at Metro Bible Fellowship. You’ll find it at the end of this post as well.

When it comes to repentance there are seven things that are important to know.

  1. Repentance is a big word, a God word.
  2. Repentance is initiated by God. In Acts 18:11, Luke wrote that God granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.
  3. Repentance is a change of mind and it conveys the idea of turning from sin to God. Bonnell Thornton described repentance this way: Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns back. Repentance covers the whole process of turning from sin to God.
  4. Repentance is most often used to describe the conversion of the lost. It is the process of going from unbelief to belief in Jesus Christ.
  5. Repentance is accompanied by godly sorrow. This is much deeper than merely feeling sorrowful for getting caught doing something wrong. Godly sorrow recognizes the emptiness of the life of sin and the painful consequences it brings about in the lives of others. 2 Corinthians 7:10
  6. Repentance cannot be reduced to a formula. Confessing sins and asking God to forgive those sins does not equal repentance. Far too many believers apply this formula on a daily basis, yet never experience a change of heart or mind.
  7.  God’s kindness leads us to repentance. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4) This kindness is most clearly seen and experienced through faith in the finished work of Jesus regarding the forgiveness of sins.

I’ll end this post by sharing two quotes on repentance.

Evangelical repentance is repentance of sin as sin: not of this sin nor of that, but of the whole mass. We repent of the sin of our nature as well as the sin of our practice. We bemoan sin within us and without us. We repent of sin itself as being an insult to God. Anything short of this is a mere surface repentance, and not a repentance which reaches to the bottom of the mischief. Repentance of the evil act, and not of the evil heart, is like men pumping water out of a leaky vessel, but forgetting to stop the leak. Some would dam up the stream, but leave the fountain still flowing; they would remove the eruption from the skin, but leave the disease in the flesh. –Charles Haddon Spurgeon

True repentance will entirely change you; the bias of your souls will be changed, then you will delight in God, in Christ, in His Law, and in His people. –George Whitefield

Broadccast: 

Metro: 

Four Promises That Will Change Your life

This is an astonishing claim. But it’s true. I am talking of the four promises, or provisions, of the New Covenant.

The writer of Hebrews described these promises as better than the promises of the Old. And indeed they are.

They are laid out for us in Hebrews 8:10-12. I’ve numbered them for ease of reading.

  1. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.
  2. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
  3. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
  4. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

 These are better promises because they satisfy our deepest needs. We need power and the internal motivation to live out the Christian life. We need assurance that we belong to God and that He loves us. We need God, to genuinely know Him. We desperately need to know our sins have been forgiven once and for all.

On all of these points, the New Covenant provides. Jesus’ finish work guarantees all of these promises. I’ve juiced each one down to one word. In this New Covenant we have

  • Power
  • Assurance
  • Relationship
  • Forgiveness.

The world, religion and even the flesh make outlandish promises, but they never deliver. Not Jesus. In Him, you have everything you need.

Take hold of these four promises and your life will never be the same.

The X’s and O’s of Spiritual Warfare

Why were the Pharisees so troubled by Jesus? Why did they reject Him as their Messiah?

His claims were clear.  And His miracles provided sufficient evidence to prove He was the Messiah. He healed the blind, raised the dead, and cleansed lepers. What more did they want?

But neither His claims, nor His miracles convinced the Jewish leadership.

They condemned Him as an impostor and plotted to get rid of Him.

What did they miss? The real enemy.

Their Messiah was to sweep in, knock Caesar off his throne, defeat the evil Roman Empire and establish Israel as the pre-eminent nation in the world. But Rome was not the enemy.

The enemy, a trio of adversaries to be exact, was far more sinister and cunning. Satan, sin and death comprised the axis of evil that stood against the people of Israel and held them under their power.

The Pharisees missed this critical truth. They missed it because they did not know themselves. They were blind to their lost condition and the fact they were spiritually dead like everyone else in the world.

They needed a savior, One who knew the enemy and could defeat it at every turn. They needed Jesus.

In one crushing blow He defeated Satan, sin and death.

As for Satan and his band of demons, Jesus “disarmed the powers and authorities, and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15 (NIV)

As for sin, Jesus appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:26 (NIV)

As for death, Jesus “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” 2 Timothy 1:10 (ESV)

Jesus knew the enemy, the real enemy of our souls. Through death and resurrection, He crushed them ending their reign once and for all.

Your enemy has been defeated. Rejoice in Christ’s victory for you and live as conquerors in life. This is truth that will set you free.

What’s in a Name — Part 2

How would you like to have an angel of the Lord appear to you in a dream? That’s what happened to Joseph right in the middle of his most trying time. He did not know what to do about Mary.

The angel gave him the news he needed. This baby in Mary’s womb was going to be special, the One who would save His people from their sins. It was God’s nudge to Joseph to hang in there. And he did. He named the baby Jesus, just as the angel instructed.

In Joseph’s dream, it was revealed that all this was to fulfill God’s word through the prophet Isaiah that a virgin would conceive a child and give birth to a son who would be called Immanuel.

Another name for Jesus. What does this one mean?

The name Jesus gives us insight into His mission to save His people from their sins. Immanuel tells us who He is. The name means God is with us. This babe was God in human flesh.

Jesus grew, carried out His mission, was raised from the dead and then ascended into heaven to take up His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father.

But He also takes up residence in us through the Holy Spirit. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “…Christ lives in me…” As believers, God is with us everyday, living in and through us. Let that sink in. It is truly mind-boggling.

What’s in a name. When it comes to Jesus, our Immanuel, it is good news!

What’s in a Name?

Joseph was conflicted. What should he do about Mary?

She was pregnant, and he wasn’t the father. After looking at all the options, he decided to divorce her quietly.

But that wasn’t God’s plan.

An angel appeared to Joseph with this message: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus…”

Why that name?

Because that name has meaning. It speaks of Jesus’ mission — “he will save his people from their sins.”

But how? Consider these three points.

  • Jesus frees us from the punishment of sin.
  • Jesus delivers us from the power of sin.
  • Jesus will eventually remove us from the presence of sin.

Jesus Christ is our savior in every sense of the word. He saves us completely from our sins.

That’s what is in His name.

Ten Blessings I Am Thankful For Today

Today, I am thankful for

  1. Jeanna, my amazing wife. She knows me like no one else. She still chooses to love me.184844_1894192761397_5832241_n
  2. Three cool kids—Caitlin, Coleman and McKenzie.kids
  3. My mom and her husband Ellis. They really like each other and they love their families. As for my mom, she’s the best mom ever.
  4. Lisa, Gina and Sally, my three sisters. All I can say is they rock. They keep me laughing.
  5. Jeanna’s family. Yes, I have great in-laws.
  6. Wade, Richard H. and Tom, life-long friends.
  7. Bob Davis, Richard Peifer, Stephen Simon, Vivian Foster, Kim Groff, Charles Oden, Billie Raybourn, Michele Lister, Greg Parke, Jeannie Thompson and Coleman Christopher. I get to work with these fantastic people every day.
  8. The Basic Gospel Board of Directors. This group serves the ministry with wisdom and grace.
  9. The 1,916 Basic Gospel Partners who fuel everything this ministry does with their prayers and support. You are changing the world by connecting people to the love of Jesus Christ.
  10. Jesus Christ. He is life. He truly and genuinely likes me. I can’t believe I get to walk through life with Him, the one who died for me and the one who loves me best.

What are you thankful for today? I look forward to reading your lists.

Jesus is Coming!

Revelation 22

We’ve come to the end. The Revelation is complete. We’ve seen Jesus Christ in all of his glory, power and honor. It is this vision of Jesus Christ that blesses those who hear and take to heart the message of this letter.

The Garden

John saw a river with the water of life flowing from the throne of God. A tree of life stood on each side. These two trees produced twelve crops of fruit signifying the constant provision of God. This is the Garden of Eden refashioned and remade, but now attached to the New Jerusalem.

The curse that held all of creation captive has been broken. The inhabitants of this garden are fully restored and freely fellowship with God. The Lord shines on them, and they will reign with Him forever.

Come

The only thing that waits is the second coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus promises that He is coming soon. Both the Spirit and the Bride say “Come.” He is our hope and our assurance. There is nothing for us to fear. We belong to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We have washed our robes. We will share in all that Christ has prepared for us in the New Jerusalem.

There is a second invitation. It is to those who are thirsty. Jesus bids them to come to Him and drink freely from the water of life. John issued the same invitation in his Gospel account; “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38).

Jesus’ life is available to all who will receive Him.

A Final Warning

No one is to add to what is written in this letter, or take away from it. There is no other message than Jesus. He alone saves.

The Last Word

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people!

The New Jerusalem

Revelation 21

God’s wrath has been poured out fully. Judgment upon the lost world and the forces of darkness is done. God’s creation is ready to be set free from death and decay. This is John’s focus in this chapter.

Everything New

John saw a new heaven and a new earth. The old had disappeared just as God had said. John also saw the New Jerusalem coming down from God. He described the city as a beautiful bride dressed for her husband.

Then John heard a shout, “Look, God’s home is now among His people.” This is the goal of the Gospel story. As Peter wrote, “Christ died for sins once and for all…to bring you to God” (1Peter 3:18). We live with Him, and He lives with us. This is the time God wipes away every tear. There will be no more death, pain, sorrow or crying. “These things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:4).

Who will inherit these blessings? Jesus answered, “All who are victorious.” The children of God will live in the New Jerusalem and will drink “freely from the springs of the water of life.”

The Bride

An angel showed John the holy city, the bride of Christ. It was descending out of heaven from God. The description takes the breath away.  It is magnificent in every way. John was seeing the reality that all the shadows in the Old Testament were pointing to (Hebrews 10:1).

What sets this city apart is the presence of God and of the Lamb. They illuminate the city in such a way that there is no day or night. We will all walk in this marvelous light. Nothing evil will ever be allowed to enter, only those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation for You

How does this vision of the New Jerusalem address your need for peace and security?

John mentions twice that this city comes down from God. What does this tell you about God’s great love for you and His ultimate desire for you?

The Books

Revelation 20

This chapter introduces many of the prophecy buzz words – the Millennial Reign, the Great White Throne Judgment, the second death and the lake of fire. John uses all of these to magnify the Gospel story.

The Millennial Reign

Is this a literal thousand year period that will happen? Or is it merely a metaphor? “Who can tell?” was the answer Adam Clarke gave in his commentary on this chapter.

Here is what we know from the chapter.

  • An angel binds Satan during this period and keeps him in a bottomless pit.
  • Souls beheaded for their faith come back to life and reign with Christ.
  • When this period ends, Satan is set free to gather a mighty army for battle.
  • Fire consumes the enemies of God and Satan is thrown into the fiery lake to be tormented day and night.

John shows us the power and authority of Jesus Christ — our God does reign over all. John brings the Gospel story to its conclusion – the dead in Christ are raised to life to rule and reign with Him. John puts an exclamation point on Christ’s defeat of Satan.

The Great White Throne

John expands on the imagery in Daniel 7:9-10 to show God’s final judgment of man. In this scene, the dead stand before the throne of God. God opens the books, including the book of life.

He judges the people according to what they have done. Here is what they did. They rejected Jesus Christ and rebelled against the one true God. Their punishment is death. God throws them, along with death and Hades, into the lake of fire where they experience eternal separation from God.

Revelation for You

Even at the end, Satan still wants to battle the Lord. What does this tell you about the nature of deception?

In light of this final judgment of the lost, how important is it to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?