What Lies Ahead

What a challenge this must have been for patriotic Philippian citizens who had spilled their blood for the glory of Rome, or who sat at dinner tables with empty chairs where fathers or sons or husbands should be, or who grew up with the pageantry and pride of the national festivals. How might one feel if he had fought valiantly for Rome in the past, but in the present, he must decide, “Shall I serve Caesar or Christ?” Imagine how natural feelings of patriotism, fraternity, and national identity might complicate matters when the local magistrate took notice of the Christian assembly and applied passive or aggressive pressure. If you were a Christian and a Roman citizen of Philippi, you might well feel your allegiance torn in two.

Equality

Equality

From the standpoint of being on earth, we are equal. We are from the same ancestor, Noah. Noah came from Adam, who was created in the image of God. We have the same potential to be received by God. We have the same requirements for life in the body: air, water, food, clothing, and shelter. We have the same needs of the spirit: to be loved and to practice love. All have the same weakness of sinning and the same responsibility to repent. Within the scope of repentance, the same capacities exist: to evaluate our behavior by the standard God has set forth, regret, and turn to God for mercy.

Ministering Spirits

Ministering Spirits

The Scriptures mention angels a lot. There is a lot we know about angels as described in God’s Word. With this said, there does still seem to be a lot we do not know. There is no doubt angels were used by the Lord for various purposes, varying from serving the Lord’s people to executing judgment and wrath upon the wicked. Angels were often used as a method for the Lord to extend comfort and help to His people. They were used as messengers of both good and fearful tidings (the English word “angel” literally means “messenger”)

No Sweat

No Sweat

If someone said, “no sweat,” we would probably understand the meaning to be, “this won’t be hard.” If someone said, “don’t sweat it,” we would probably take the meaning as, “don’t be afraid or anxious.” Sweat correlates with difficulty, hard work, stress, and anxiety. The Bible specifically mentions sweat three times.

Dual Citizenship

Dual Citizenship

We sing that “I can’t feel at home in this world anymore,” but I often do feel quite at home here. Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that by faith, Abraham forsook his earthly homeland and lived as a stranger and pilgrim while waiting for a better heavenly city. Would I do the same? Likewise, the Jews looked for Jesus to restore the earthly kingdom of Israel when he walked the earth (see Acts 1:6). It seemed that it even took the apostles a while to grasp that God was doing something much bigger and better.

Life is in the Blood

Life is in the Blood

Think of all the blood shed by sacrifices over the years. When preparing for the first Passover, God told the children of Israel in Exodus 12:13, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” On the day Solomon dedicated the temple in 1 Kings 8:63, he offered 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. That alone is more blood than I can imagine. Think of all the sacrifices for sin: peace offerings, the evening sacrifice, and countless thousands of animals that shed their blood over the years.

From Dust to Dust

From Dust to Dust

Whatever accomplishments I might have achieved, whatever possessions I might have owned, whatever status I might have attained, even my reputation — those things won’t fit inside my urn. Nor do those things define me in the eyes of God. He is not impressed by the awards hanging on the wood-paneled walls of my paid-off house in this upscale California suburb. Even my new iPhone 12 Max Pro with 128 GB of memory does not raise His eyebrows.

Overcoming Fear – Part 2

Overcoming Fear – Part 2

That is God’s recipe for replacing worried thoughts with good thoughts. The thought is a temptation, and God has given us the ability to decide whether we are going to take that thought and form it into worry and fear, or if we are going to reject that thought and think about what is true, what is honest, what is just, what is pure, etc. Whenever you catch that temptation to worry coming to your mind, reject that thought, lock it up, don’t imagine more details of it, don’t scare your body into a fear reaction. Instead, identify something that is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or well spoken of.