Redeeming Failure

Everyone fails. But what happens when we mess up so badly, there’s no coming back from it? Sin can trap us in a prison of discouragement, despair and defeat. Failure robs us of hope, until we’re willing to settle for what is familiar and comfortable. When we fail, we must run to Jesus, not away from Him. No matter how greatly we’ve failed, He assures us His grace is greater. He will meet us right where we are – in our sin, our shame, our fear. His call on your life remains the same, for His commitment to us isn’t as fragile as our commitment to Him. Are you carrying the shame of failure? Let Jesus redeem it!

Scripture References: John 21; Luke 22:61-62; Matthew 26:72; Mark 16:7; Luke 5:4-8; 1 Corinthians 1:30

That You May Believe

We all believe in something. Faith is a regular part of our lives. We trust our car will start when we turn the key, that the chair will hold us when we sit down, that our company will pay us when we go to work. Yet, some things we have difficulty believing, even when the evidence is overwhelming. The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is a matter of historical fact. After He rose from the dead, He appeared to more than 500 of His followers on at least eight different occasions over a 40-day period. He came back to life so that you, too, could have life in His name. Will you believe?

Scripture References: John 20:1-10; John 20:11-18; Luke 1:1-4; John 20:24-29; John 19:35; 1 Corinthians 15:5-6; John 20:30-31; John 20:19-23; Genesis 2:7; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:4

Conquering Compromise

It’s easy to know the difference between right and wrong. The challenge is when you know what’s right won’t be easy. Right decisions are usually costly, risky or unpopular, but at the end of the day - they’re right! Pontius Pilate found himself stuck between what he knew to be right and trying to appease a bloodthirsty crowd in the wrong. He tried to make both happen, but the result was one compromise after another. Pilate’s choices eventually led him to betray that which he knew was the right decision. While our decisions today are radically different, the question still stands: Will we be conquered by compromise or conquer compromise?

Scripture References: John 18:38-19:16; Luke 23:6-7; Luke 23:19; Genesis 3:18

Truth on Trial

What is truth? In a world of fake news, false reports, and misinformation, it’s hard to know what’s true anymore. So many people are confused or - even worse - convinced they’re right when they’re really wrong. When you’re uncertain of what is true, it’s even more important to know what is Truth. God has revealed Truth to us, and we must conform our lives to it. In doing so, we discover that Truth isn't found in a philosophy, proposition, or postulate; truth is found in a Person. Jesus came to bear witness to the Truth, so you and I can not only know it, but experience the blessing of living according to it. He is the answer you’ve been searching for.

Scripture References: John 18:28-38; Colossians 2:8; Genesis 3:1; Romans 1:24-25; John 17:17; John 14:6; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; John 8:32

 

Under Control

Are you a control freak? Most of us like to be in control of our lives, but life can’t always be controlled. Too often, difficult circumstances leave us frustrated and discouraged. During times when life seems to be unraveling, we must remember Who is really in control. Jesus is the One who “upholds the universe by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).” Nothing that has ever happened or is currently happening in your life is ever outside the scope of His control. This means we don’t need to panic – we don’t need to react in fear that results in frustration. We can trust in His power, even when the façade of human authority fails us. Turn your panic into prayer. Rest in knowing that you are under His control.

Scripture References: John 18:1-27; John 10:17-18; Philippians 4:6-7; Jeremiah 25:15; Revelation 14:10; Matthew 26:39; Romans 1:18; Romans 2:5; John 3:36; John 13:38; Luke 22:31-32

Never Alone

Description: We all know what it’s like to feel lonely. For some, this is a daily struggle; for others, the feeling is suppressed by constantly being around people. In truth, we never need to be alone. We have been invited into the perfect, pre-existent relationship of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our sin and selfishness excluded us from this Relationship, but Jesus has invited us back in through His death on the Cross. What’s more, He has made it possible to unite in real relationship with other Christians. There are so many things that divide us as people, but Christ binds us together once and for all. For this reason, we can set aside our differences with others and choose to love, serve and forgive. We’re never alone!

Scripture References: John 17:20-26; Ephesians 4:1-6; Colossians 3:11-14; 1 Corinthians 3:3-4, 16-17

Blaze of Glory

The recent shooting that killed seventeen people at a South Florida high school has left many families looking for comfort and most of the country looking for answers. Why would anyone do something like this? The greatest needs of every person are to be known and to be loved. When we chase after glory, we’re really chasing after these things. When we hurt others, it’s often because we’re feel we’re neither known nor loved. We seek acceptance and approval from other people, but we ultimately want to be known and accepted by our Creator. No matter how hard we work, we will never be able to earn this acceptance. The good news? We have already been accepted by God in Christ. We are no longer outsiders or outcasts, and we’ll never be rejected by Him. This means we are known and accepted. This means we belong.

Scripture References: John 17:1-19; Isaiah 60:1-3; John 5:44; Galatians 1:10; Colossians 1:27; Matthew 11:28-29

Overcome

Jesus summarized the purpose of the long talk (Upper Room Discourse) He had with His disciples: to bring them peace and the settled assurance of over-comers. This word of peace is especially meaningful set in the context of conflict – tribulation and overcome both speak of battles to fight. He promises a peace which co-exists with tribulation and disturbances, a peace which is realized in and through conflict and struggle.

Scripture References: John 16:16-33; John 14:27, Ephesians 2:13, Philippians 4:6-7, Ephesians 2:4-5, Proverbs 3:4-5, 1 John 4:4, 1 John 5:4-5

Help Wanted

Imagine being with Jesus in person for three years - hearing Him teach, seeing Him heal, watching Him perform miracles. Now imagine He tells you He is going away, AND that it’s better for you that He’s gone. Huh? How are we supposed to do this on our own? Maybe this is a question you’ve felt or wondered at some point in your Christian journey. Fortunately, we are never alone. Jesus sent us His Spirit to lead us in truth and to empower us for the mission He gave us: to make disciples who live and love like Him. Are you still trying to do it on your own? Do you want to be a part of His great work in this world? Ask the Helper for help today!

Scripture References: John 16:4-15; Genesis 1:1-2; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:37-38; Romans 8:9; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:4, 8

Be the Difference

We all want to make a difference in the world. We can’t do this, however, without being different. Jesus promised His followers peace, purpose and power. He also promised them problems and persecution. Why? Because we no longer belong to the sinful, self-seeking system of the World, and the World hates us for it. The problem for many Christians today isn’t that we suffer for standing out; it’s that we suffer for being obnoxious, or that we don’t suffer at all. Often, there is little contrast between our lives and the lives of unbelievers. To make a difference, we must live and love differently. Let’s be the difference!

Scripture References: John 15:18-16:4; 1 Peter 4:12-14; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15; 1 Peter 2:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:21-23