God Wants to Amaze You

God Wants to Amaze You

When Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” – Luke 5:8

We all want to be blessed. But how do you respond when you receive a tremendous blessing? Do you accept it with gratitude? Or do you let the blessing absorb you?

When Peter let down his net in the water at Jesus’ direction, the blessing was so huge that the abundance of fish tore holes in Peter’s net. His boat was dangerously close to capsizing.

But Peter saw beyond the blessing. Peter saw Jesus at work and recognized his own limitations and his need for the Savior.

Jesus amazed Peter with the abundance of fish because He wanted Peter to follow Him and get to know Him closely. God wants to amaze you so that you can better understand who He is and love Him even more.

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Do You Need to Change Your Level of Hope?

Do You Need to Change Your Level of Hope?

Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” – Acts 3:6

As a pastor, I witness people accepting their hard circumstances with a “crippled” mindset rather than believing God for something better in life.

These people are like the lame man in Acts 3 who sat by the temple gate begging for money. His only expectation was that a passerby would take pity on him and toss a coin his way. He never expected anything better. He was crippled in his body and his mind.

That’s the mindset of those who don’t expect that things can change in their lives. We all face bad days, but we don’t have to let them turn into a bad life.

Do you know anyone like that?

Is that you?

Jesus’ disciples offered the lame man miraculous healing in both his body and his mind. You too can move forward regardless of what you face in life when you fix your hope on Jesus.

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Adjust Your Expectations

Adjust Your Expectations

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us… – Ephesians 3:20

Life is filled with expectations. Look at our everyday lives. Some of us wake up expecting the best in our workday or family life or health or finances. Others dread the day or, at best, never expect anything to change for the better.

Childhood dreams and hopes might be crushed by comments that discourage rather than encourage. Disillusionment and disappointment can undercut positive expectations.

What are you expecting in life? There’s a good chance you’re going to get it. In other words, you often get whatever you expect out of life.

Please know that God is still able to deliver you from low expectations. And that begins when you ask Him to help you start believing for something better in your life. The Word tells us that God is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

Expect it.

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God Can Meet Your Needs

God Can Meet Your Needs

You have anointed my head with oil, My cup overflows. – Psalm 23:5

In these challenging times, many people are living from paycheck to paycheck. And if the truth were known, at some point or another most of us have been concerned about money. We imagine that wealthy people don’t have this problem because they always have enough to cover the checks they write. We believe they have more than enough. On the other hand, some people fall just short of enough. Many possess just enough, and others will never have all they want or think they need.

God, however, doesn’t want us to look at our earthly possessions and think, “Well, I don’t have enough to make it, and I’m mad because that guy over there has much more.” Wealth is never the issue with God. You can be the richest person in the world, but if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are eternally poor—a pauper in God’s sight.

True wealth comes when we learn to seek God for every need we have and we live within the framework He’s given us. When we do this, we begin to trust and rely only on Him. We also position ourselves for great blessing because He will never leave us feeling hopeless or abandoned. Instead, we gain a growing sense of His intimate care and love for us.

If you could choose earthly wealth and riches or God’s eternal love, which would you choose? Your answer reveals a lot about how much you value and treasure the Lord.

In Psalm 23, David presents some wonderful news for each one of us. He wants us to know that God has more than enough to provide for our every need. He owns everything and all that is His can be ours.

You may feel as though you don’t have enough to make it through another month or that your life is stamped, “Insufficient funds.” Here’s the good news: God has more than enough. When you pray and express your needs, He promises to meet those needs every time in amazing ways.

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Keep the Fires Burning

Keep the Fires Burning

…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:25

The immature Christian withdraws from the fellowship of other Christians. One of the ways we know we’re on the road to immaturity is when we feel that church doesn’t matter much anymore. We don’t have to go to church to become Christians, but attending church is necessary for us to grow spiritually. Attending a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching fellowship will inspire and motivate us in the direction of maturity. Mature Christians will want not only to be blessed but also to be a blessing to others.

God saved us to be part of His body. Our fingers couldn’t work without our hands, and our hands couldn’t work without our wrists. Our wrists couldn’t work without our arms, and our arms wouldn’t work without our shoulders. God has designed us to need each other and to care for each other. When someone begins down the road to immaturity, they don’t attend church as often as they used to. As a result, no one is around to hold them accountable and encourage them to be responsible.

One log in the fireplace doesn’t burn very well. Logs need to be piled together to keep a flame alive. The flame lasts longer when several logs are burning together. Each of us is a log in God’s fire. Don’t separate yourself from the other logs. Their flame will be less, and yours will eventually burn out.

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A Simple Test

A Simple Test

By this time you ought to be teachers. – Hebrews 5:12

The writer of Hebrews contrasted anemic Christians, who live on milk, with mature Christians, who live on meat.

If we’re “meat” Christians, we should be able to explain biblical truths to our children. Husbands should be able to answer their wives’ questions. We should be able to sit down with the Bible and help someone else know the truth. We should be able to lead an unbeliever to the Lord.

“Everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14). If we refuse to go deeper into the things of God, we will not be able to use the Word because we won’t know the Word. As the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it.” We can’t lose our salvation, but we can forget how to walk in the Word and how to be God’s representatives.

If we are mature Christians, we use God’s Word every day. We practice His Word in our everyday life. The phrase “senses trained” comes from the Greek root word forgymnasium, like a training ground. We are trained in discernment of the truth.

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The Typology of Jesus Christ

The Typology of Jesus Christ

All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. – Luke 24:44

The term typology refers to the study of the many pictures in the Old Testament that depict New Testament truths. New Testament realities were prefigured in the Old Testament, so in this way, the New Testament is the clarification of the Old. The pictures in the Old Testament were painted in anticipation of what God was going to do when His full revelation was demonstrated in the New Testament.

If we look at the story of the disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24), we see that in order to explain Himself to the two confused followers, Jesus went back to Moses and the prophets—the Old Testament (verse 27). Jesus was explaining Himself through events that took place hundreds of years earlier because these events pictured Him. They anticipated His coming; they looked forward to Him.

C.S. Lewis explained that Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. If you eavesdropped on His conversation with the disciples on the Emmaus Road, you might think He was a liar. How could the Old Testament be talking about Him? He was only 30 or so years old when this took place. You might think He was a lunatic because He thought people in Old Testament times were talking about Him. Or you’d have to think He is Lord and everything in Scripture truly is about Him. All the Old Testament points to Jesus: “Do not think I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

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Christ’s Millennial Rule

Christ’s Millennial Rule

He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” – Revelation 21:5

What will Christ’s millennial rule look like? This golden era will be ushered in by the captivity of Satan. Scripture tells us that Satan will be bound for 1000 years and then thrown into the lake of fire.

There will be theocratic rule during this time, meaning Jesus will have total dominion and power over the earth. The Word of God will be a sword in the mouth of Christ according to Revelation 19:15, so Jesus need only say the word to crush any rebellion. Righteousness and faithfulness will be His belt, and the wolf will dwell with the lamb. There will be harmony. This is not heaven; we are still on the earth. But with Christ ruling at the helm, this will definitely be a golden age on the earth.

God and His Word will dominate. Everyone will function in harmony with the knowledge of God because everyone will have that knowledge.

According to Isaiah 30:23-24, men will be prosperous, with a yield from the ground that is “rich and plenteous.” We will rule with Christ and serve in His government.

After the wedding supper and the millennial rule, we go home with our bridegroom to the New Jerusalem. Jesus has been preparing this place for us, where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Jesus will bring us home to the Father, and we will make up the kingdom of God.

In light of all this, we can prepare for the kingdom and honor the King. We can live lives that honor Christ and praise God for the glory of His grace.

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The Wedding Feast

The Wedding Feast

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. – Revelation 19:7

After Jesus has gathered His church to Himself, we will celebrate with a magnificent feast, the marriage supper of the Lamb. The bride and bridegroom will celebrate their union and will begin an eternity of being spiritually and physically together.

A bride spends a lot of time getting ready, making herself look perfect for her groom. In the same way, the church of Christ will be purified, glorious, and perfect in every detail because all the sinfulness of earth will be burned away and the righteousness of Christ will shine forth from the church. This will truly be a celebration, a party like none we have ever seen. The wedding reception will last a millennium—1000 years.

Before this wedding feast takes place, Jesus will inaugurate His millennial rule by dealing with all His enemies. He will come back to earth with his army to set up His kingdom rule. God will judge the earth through the great tribulation, and the sheep will be separated from the goats. Those who come through the tribulation as believers in Jesus Christ will participate in the wedding feast along with the other believers.

We will have this wedding feast because man will finally realize the destiny he was created for, all due to the person and work of the perfect man, Jesus Christ. The purpose of the millennial reign is for man to fulfill his God-ordained destiny to rule the earth and to fellowship with the Creator.

What a time of rejoicing that will be!

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Salvation at the Cross

Salvation at the Cross

The other answered, and rebuking him said . . . “We are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” – Luke 23:40-41

One of the two criminals crucified with Christ simply wanted to be delivered from his present situation, but the other wanted deliverance from all of his sins. He said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42), demonstrating that he knew about something very important beyond this life.

Many people want Jesus to deliver them from their current problems, but they don’t understand that Jesus wants to deliver us from our eternal problem. The first criminal thought Jesus could fix his temporal problems, but the second thief saw that Jesus could fix his eternal problem. This man evidently believed in the resurrection. He knew Jesus was going to die, yet he asked Jesus to remember him when He arrived in the kingdom.

The first criminals also went along with the noise of the crowd, mocking and jeering at Christ, while the other based his decision on his faith in Christ rather than the opinion of the masses. Jesus rewarded his faith when He answered that the thief would be with Him that very day in paradise (verse 43). The thief knew that he had nothing to offer God and that no human remedy could meet his eternal need.

The question you must ask is, which side of the cross are you on? Are you on the side of the one who wanted Jesus only for earthly deliverance and didn’t understand the eternal repercussions, or are you on the side of the one who said to Jesus, “I can’t fix myself, and I need You to be my redeemer”?

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