I think Christians get a bad rep sometimes because we tend to put the pressure and the spotlight on ourselves. We go, “I’m a Christian, so I need to do good. I need to follow all the rules. I need to show them that I’m a good person so that they will come to see God.” And then we fail, do something wrong, people sneer, and the whole image just falls apart.
But hey, guess what? No matter how good we think we are, we will NEVER be able to do everything right. We will make mistakes (and lots of them, too!) along the way. No matter how hard we try, it is absolutely impossible that we follow all the rules down to the letter - and people can see that! Nothing like a little wrongdoing to pull us down from the high pedestal we unwittingly place ourselves in.
So why not shift the spotlight from ourselves to the One who is truly perfect? To the One who, despite everything we have done, still chose to give Himself for us? Can you imagine how wonderful and amazing He must be, to have loved and died for someone like me?
I am not perfect, but He is. Don’t look at me - I fumble and fail so many times in a day that I lose count. Look at JESUS, the One who, in His perfection and righteousness, took all of our sin upon Himself so that we may be made perfect and righteous with Him. Because of Him, we can come to God with boldness. Because of Him, we are made whole. His grace is more than sufficient to help me in my weaknesses.
The work of saving people is not ours, my friends. The most that we can do is point them to JESUS, and let Him be the Savior. Not to us, but to Him be all the glory.
DON'T FIGHT YOUR OWN BATTLES
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.” (II Chronicles 20:17 NKJV)
King Jehoshaphat was in trouble. Three tribes were coming to declare war against him and his people. How could Judah, a lone tribe, win against all these strong forces? It was impossible, a death warrant for everyone in the land! In such a difficult situation, King Jehoshaphat chose to take a stand - He decided to fall on his knees.
"And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord , and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord ; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord ." II Chronicles 20:3-4 NKJV
How seemingly impossible does your problem look like right now? Are you at your wits' end trying to think of where to get the money to pay for bills that keep piling up? Have doctors given you a terrible prognosis for that incurable illness you have just been diagnosed with? Are you losing hours of sleep worrying about your children whose lives seem to be going astray? Have you just been bypassed again for that promotion you have been working years and years for?
Are you tired of fighting against your personal battles that seem to take every ounce of the little strength that you have?
It is tempting to break down and say, "I give up! I cannot do this any more!" But look at what Jehoshaphat said in the face of such tragic circumstances. "...we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but OUR EYES ARE UPON YOU.” (II Chronicles 20:12 NKJV)
Yes, it was impossible. Yes, Jehoshaphat had no power to win the war. Yes, he could not do it. BUT HE DID NOT HAVE TO. He simply acknowledged that in his own strength, he could not do anything, and turned his eyes unto God instead. And how did God respond? Did He say, "No Jehoshaphat, this is for your own good. This will make you strong. Figure it out yourself."
NO! Instead, God replied, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.” (II Chronicles 20:17 NKJV)
King Jehoshaphat and his people went on to worship God, and as they did so, God Himself worked on their behalf and led them to a wondrous victory!
No matter how great the problem is, take the burden off your own shoulders it is no longer yours! You no longer need to strive and fight whatever it is that you are facing right now. All you have to do is to look unto the Lord and rest in Him. You are already standing from a position of victory because the One who fights for you is already triumphant. If you need more convincing, just take a look at the Cross and remember what He has done for you.
In the original text in II Chronicles 20:17, there is a space between the words “see” and “the salvation”. Those characters, which couldn’t be directly translated to English, stand for Aleph-Tav - the ALPHA AND THE OMEGA. This is Jesus’ signature! Whatever you are going through right now, let go of the fight, and see JESUS, THE SALVATION OF THE LORD. What He wants for you to do is remember your position of victory in Christ, stand still and rest in Him and His finished work, and see His amazing grace and goodness at work in your life. God's will for you is that you should enjoy an abundant life, and live it to the fullest, so grab hold on to that promise and let Him make it come to pass for you!
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:8-11 NIV
What if someone tells you that the way to get to Heaven is to make sure that you follow all the rules as they are stated in the Bible? What would you do? You would do everything in your power to make sure that you do not miss even just one little rule - otherwise, it will be Hell for you. How would you feel about that? My guess is that you would be so stressed out every single day, so conscious of every wrong thing you commit. You would be beating yourself up over every mistake. You would be painfully aware of your every action. When it's your life on the line, no sin is too small to be dismissed.
You would always be scared of missing the mark, anxious that you are not doing enough, and tiring yourself out just trying to measure up. Sooner or later, you would give up, realizing just how IMPOSSIBLE it is to fulfill the whole Law.
This is a such a difficult way to live, and yet many people are constantly putting themselves in this misery, believing that the key to their salvation lies in how well they perform in this life. What if I told you that there is a better way?
What if I told you that, especially for YOU, Someone already followed all of God's rules down to the last letter? What if I told you that that perfect Someone already subjected Himself to the punishment that YOU should have received, in YOUR place, for all the wrongs that YOU committed, so that you wouldn't have to be punished yourself? What if I told you that you would only need to accept what that Someone did and you're home-free, heaven-guaranteed, no matter what?
Wouldn't you be overly excited about that? Wouldn't you be shouting for joy, relief and gratefulness flooding your heart because of what this amazing Person did? Wouldn't this be the BEST news you've ever heard in your whole life? It is done! Your sin has been paid for!
That is exactly what JESUS did for you. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8 NIV) This Jesus - who was perfect in every way, who was without sin, who was pure and white as snow - took upon Himself the punishment that you deserve with His own flesh and blood. All because He loves you. Through His death on the Cross, He bought us back - that "having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2 NKJV)
How truly amazing the grace of God is! Because of what Jesus has done, He has given us access to a life with Him - a wonderful life that we did not deserve, and yet, He gave it to us anyway. Just say yes to Jesus, and He will transform you into a new creation, one that is holy, righteous and clean - no matter what you do or say. There is nothing you can do that can ever separate you from Jesus anymore.
So stop working for your salvation and start resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Live your life simply basking in His great love, always in gratefulness for His ultimate gift. Soon, you'll realize that you are naturally flowing in His grace, living a sin-free life much more easily than when you were trying to get saved on your own strength.
Isn't this a much better way to live?
As you go through your day to day life, do you sometimes feel like you’re just an ordinary person, just another face in the crowd? That there is nothing excellent about you, not anything noteworthy? That maybe you are just a loser with nothing to be proud of?
Let me tell you right now. You need to keep your head up, because God definitely does not see you that way!
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:3-5 NKJV)
Jesus already conquered everything on the Cross! When you confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, you accept not only salvation and eternal life, but also every good and perfect gift that Jesus paid for with His death on the Cross. You have been born again into a complete and victorious life!
Whether you are going through a difficult time in school or at work, with your family, your friends, or even within yourself - know that God feels you, He hears you, and He has already seen you triumphant over all these things. It may be difficult now, but remember that God has already seen the ending of this chapter of your life - and He has seen an ending where you are an overcomer! You are a winner!
Therefore, you have nothing to be afraid of - just walk out and enjoy the life He has set out for you. Take on new challenges and boldly step out into areas you never dreamed possible before - God is with you and He only has success in mind for you. Remember that when God looks at you, He sees His child whom He loves and is truly proud of!
Let the light of God shine through your life as you walk fearlessly in His grace! Enjoy life!
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV)
“God must have given me this illness to test my faith.”
“God must be teaching me a lesson because of something I did wrong – that’s why I’m sick.”
Have you heard these words before? Or perhaps uttered them yourself at some point in your life? When disease strikes and we cannot understand why, we immediately assume that God must have had a reason for giving this to us. Maybe He is testing our faith. Maybe there is sin in our life that we need to get rid of so we can become well again.
But here is the earth-shattering, amazing, mind-boggling truth: GOD DOES NOT WANT YOU SICK, HE WANTS YOU HEALTHY!
Let me tell you a story about a boy who has been blind, right from the moment he was born. Imagine living in a world of darkness, never knowing the colors of the trees or the flowers, never seeing the faces of the people of he loves. Imagine how much he suffered every single day, how difficult life must have been for him. How many times must he have cried out in anguish, “God, why have I been born like this?” Think about it. How can a loving God subject someone to such a miserable life?
People started to assume that perhaps it was a payment for some sort of sin in his life – whether his own or that of his parents. Jesus responded to all the speculations by saying, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” (John 9: 3)
Now you must be thinking, “See? God gave him the blindness so that He can show how great He is.” But is that really what He meant? Let’s read that again, with a simple change in punctuation.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned. BUT THAT THE WORKS OF GOD SHOULD BE REVEALED IN HIM, I MUST WORK THE WORKS OF HIM WHO SENT ME WHILE IT IS DAY; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” Then Jesus went on to heal him and give him his sight, right then and there!
The blind man was born blind not because he or his parents sinned! Jesus never said what the reason was, but one thing was clear - the work of God was to heal Him. The Light of the World could never have let that man remain in utter darkness. The work of Jesus was to bring health and healing to a sick and broken world.
Friend, whatever it is you are going through right now, know that God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for you and redeem you from the curse and everything else included in it. At the Cross, once and for all, Jesus bore all sickness and disease – cancer, hypertension, diabetes, even the common cold! – so that you wouldn’t have to. He has already triumphed over all of these – the name of Jesus is greater than any other name. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer! Start receiving and enjoying your healthy life today!
"He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite." Psalms 147:3-5 NKJV
Have you ever felt a certain sadness so deep that it felt like you were never going to see the light again? Do you sometimes think that perhaps you missed your calling and now your life is going nowhere? Do you get utterly discouraged and lose the will to go on?
Elijah was such a man. He was a prophet through whom God had done great things - he caused an overflowing supply of food to come to a widow and her son, he raised a boy from the dead, and he called fire from heaven to put Baal followers to shame (1 Kings 17-18). And yet, after all of these, he fell into despair and depression, saying, "It is enough! Now, Lord , take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (I Kings 19:4)
Now, you'd think a man of great faith like him should not have fallen to such emotions. You might be thinking, "He should have been stronger! He should have gotten over it!" Was God disappointed in this beloved prophet of His? Definitely not! The Bible says that during this time of his great depression, an Angel of the Lord fed him and took care of him. (1 Kings 19:5) This was Jesus! Jesus Himself drew near to Him. He revealed Himself to Elijah in a still, small voice, reminding him that the calling in his life has not changed. Jesus stayed with him, strengthened him, and when he was ready, He simply said, "Go, return on your way."
My friend, when you are down and discouraged, God does not abandon you. He does not leave you, and He does not disqualify you from His blessing. He does not say, "How come you have so little faith?" No no no! In the times of your depression, when you are most discouraged and in doubt, Jesus Himself draws near and reaches out to you. The veil has been torn away and now Jesus is in you, in your heart, and now He never leaves you nor forsakes you. He heals your broken heart, and whispers in your spirit, "My gifts and calling are irrevocable. My plans for you have not changed at all." He strengthens you so that you can get up and go back on your way, even better than before! That's how much He loves you and cares for you!
"But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Many times we feel like overwhelming problems surround us. We try to find solutions, but then another problem comes to challenge us further. It gets so hard that sometimes, we get to the point when we all want to do is just raise our hands in the air and say "Enough! I give up!"
Once, Peter took a bold step to walk with Jesus on water. This happened in the midst of strong winds and great waves. It was supernatural! However, when Peter started to realize and pay attention to where he really was - in the middle of the storm - he became afraid and then began to sink. Desperately, he called out to Jesus and said, "Lord, save me!"
Our Lord sees our need for help. He is always near. He is attentive to our cries (Psalms 34:15). When Peter cried out, Jesus immediately caught him and saved him. That is who Jesus is! That is our ever-present Savior!
My friends, if you are drowning in your problems, do not seek out answers from self-help books or your friends first. Cry out to Jesus! Pursue the Savior because He has the right answers and solutions for you. He will tell the unsearchable things you do not know (Jeremiah 33.3)
"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" Jeremiah 33:3