Our Best Offense is a Solid Defense

Last Sunday I had the honor to preach at Island Baptist Church in LBI, NJ.  My good friend Luke Fraser is the pastor.  He is a great man of God and it was a tremendous privilege to be in his pulpit.

I preached on 1 Peter 3:15 and how this vs teaches us as Christians how we are to honor Christ as holy, have an assured answer for people who ask us why, and answer like Christ.

Please take a few minutes to watch.

That 3:16

“For God so loved”  We think we know what love is.  We love our friends and our family and our pets.  But God so loved.  His love is beyond anything we can think of.  Think of a person you love more than anything else.  Nope!  That’s nothing compared to the love of God.

“the world”  This is Jew, Gentile, black, white, Hispanic, Arabic, European, Asian, African, every nationality.  God doesn’t care how much melanin you have in your skin.  He doesn’t care what part of the world you are from.  He so loves people out of every nation, tribe, and tongue.

“that He gave”  Have you ever given a gift?  Think of the most expensive gift you have given.  That is nothing compared to what God has given.  He spared no expense for who He loves.

“His only begotten Son” This is Who He gave.  His one and only unique Son.  Jesus Christ.  Born of a virgin.  Lived a sinless life. Died a sinners death.

“that whoever believes in Him shall not perish”  What do you mean perish?  If you don’t believe in the Son then the wrath of God will be poured out on you because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  The punishment for sinning against an eternal God is eternity in hell.  This is bad news.  But the verse says if you are “whoever” and believe this will not happen.

“but have eternal life.”  Yes!  Believe and you will receive eternal life.  Eternal life with God forever praising the Creator.  You will be forgiven of your sins and set free from being enslaved to them.  You will be given a new heart being born again to follow the risen and living Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord.

Believe today! Now is the time!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Finished

imageThere is nothing a person can do on their own to get right with God. It takes perfection. We are not perfect so we must die. But there is a work that has been done to make sinners right before a holy God. The finished work of Jesus Christ alone saves sinners. When a sinner turns from sin and trusts in Jesus Christ God sees the wage/penalty of sin, which is death, paid in full. Trust in Jesus Christ today.

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Love

cropped-ocean.jpgWe are called to love one another. Jesus says this is how men will know we are His disciples.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

The two greatest commandments He says (paraphrasing) are to love God with everything and love everyone else as ourselves. No one does either. We disobey God showing we can’t love Him as He commands and hence we can’t truly love neighbor. But Jesus fulfilled this and by His love we can love.

Repent and believe the good news.

 

 

Set Free

imageAs we celebrate our independence in the United States of America lets remember those who fight for freedom everyday. Let’s remember those who have fallen in battle. I thank you. You put it all on the line for freedom.

There is One who can give true freedom.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Watch this to see how

 

Journey to Where?

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I was once on a journey.  I was trying to find myself.  Isn’t that what life is about?  Trying to find out who you are and how you fit in this world?  Isn’t it about getting ahead, getting a degree, getting a job/career, getting a house, getting a wife and starting a family?  The list of stuff to go after is non-stop.  It is all part of the American dream.  You want it?  Go get it!  Just be nice along the way and the universe will move for you.

Is this what you believe?  If so, then what?  What happens when you get all you ever wanted?  What happens when you are living the dream?  What happens when you are suddenly on your death-bed or suddenly dead?  Will that house, car, wife, family, iPhone be of any use to you?

Sadly, some preachers even preach this.  It is refered to as the “prosperity gospel” or “name it claim it gospel”.  It is not the true gospel.  I once heard it said that he who dies with the most toys wins.  But in actuality, he who dies with the most toys dies just like everyone else.  The question goes back to, “then what?  Is it all over?  Did I amass all this stuff for my vapor of a life on earth and now nothing?  Or did I amass all this stuff in my vapor of a life on earth and it was my idol and I worshipped it instead of the creator of all?  Did I love stuff and hate God?  Did I love the dream and hate the Spirit?  Did I love the world and hate Jesus?”

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

“So what? My life is short.  So I am not supposed to pursue things.”  Here in America so many have the privilege to have stuff.  It is when the stuff becomes the focus.  But nothing matters at all if you do not know God.  Nothing matters at all if you are an enemy of God.  “So pursuing things makes me an enemy of God?”  If anything is put in front of your relationship with God you need to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

“But I do not believe in the God you speak of.”  If you don’t know God at all then yes, you are His enemy.  You have created your own god in the image of yourself instead of worshiping the true God who made us in His image.  We all know there is a God.  Some will recognize Him as God and others will hold down the truth.  They will actively hold it down like trying to hold an inflated beach ball under the water.  But the truth still exists that we were all created in His image.

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Romans 1:18-23

This is what happens when we deny God.  We create gods in our image.  We love ourselves and try to reason away our behavior by denying God for who He is.  We don’t want there to be a true and just God because then we will be held accountable for our actions.  Or we try to have a god who will let us in to heaven on our own works.  We know that God is just and will punish us for our sins.  So we hold down the truth in our unrighteousness and the world says that is ok.  The world and flesh and the evil one tells us to keep seeking self. They tells us to keep doing what feels good.  They tell us our good deeds out weigh our bad so if there is a heaven we will go there.

This is a great lie.  It is a lie that started from the fall.  “Did God really say????”

Yes! He has said and Yes! there are eternal consequences for not obeying His standards.  We all have lied.  We all have taken His name in vain.  We all have dishonored our parents. We all have not loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  Romans 3:23

But God did something for sinners.  He came down and became a man.  He lived a sinless life.  The life we should live.  He died the death that we deserve.  He rose after three days dead to prove who He is.  “So we just believe that?”  We turn from our sins, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and put our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him as Lord of our lives.  Putting our trust in Jesus is not just believing He lived and died and rose.  It is believing that it was for you and without it God sees your sins and punishes you with all His wrath.  When you put your trust in Christ, God sees His righteousness.  He poured out His wrath on Him so you can be saved.  This is good news.  This is the gospel.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

Are you on a journey to find you?  Are you on a journey to amass things?  Are you running away as an enemy of God?  If so I pray you will turn away from your sins and striving for things (repent) and put your trust in Jesus Christ.  I know I can’t convince you to believe any of this.  I just want you to think about it.  Then think some more.

Holy Father, give them ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that is regenerated by You gospel.  It is in the name of Jesus alone they can be saved.  Works, church attendance, praying the rosary, sacraments, or any other thing added by man can not save.  It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by You alone God, any can be saved.  I pray in the saving Name of Your Son Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen!

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

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The Pursuit Of………………..

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Everyday is a gift.  I know this is a cliché but it is true.  Even if that day you have been given is a rainy one.  It is a gift.  The air we breathe we take for granted.  The water, the food, the clothing, the shelter are all gifts.  This is what allows life to continue.  What happens in that life may not feel like a gift.  You may feel your life is terrible.  Maybe even unlivable.  Maybe you are jobless, friends less, or homeless.  Maybe the life you were  living suddenly changes because you lost a loved one to death or they left you.  Maybe you get up everyday and go to a job you don’t like going to.  Maybe there is some “dream” you want to be living.

There are a few ways you can look at those situations.  Some say life is what you make it.  If you want to go after your dream just go get it.   You can do this but be careful.  Make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect others you love. Even before that, make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect your relationship with God.  This should be first before you go after that dream.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  Mark 8:36

Go to any book store and you will see a huge self-help section.  There will be many books about improving yourself.  There will be many books about how to succeed in business, health, and life overall.  There may even be a few of these books in the religious section teaching you how to live your best life now.  But what good is any of this if you lose your soul?  What good is any of it if you don’t have a relationship with God?  What good is any of it if you don’t know Jesus?

That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

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I was one of those people with ambitions to be successful in business.  I was chasing that American dream.  Mean while things in my life weren’t firing on all cylinders.  More than that, I didn’t know Jesus.  I was truly just doing my own thing.  I was just after making me happy and serving myself.  I was my own god.

I see this as a common occurrence in the world.  People are chasing success.  Again, there is nothing wrong with going after your vision, but your why is what is important.  Are you chasing that dream to say you did it?  Are you chasing that dream because the world says you have to leave that type of legacy for your life to mean something?  Are you chasing that dream because it is now your identity?

I chased it for these reasons.  But if I would achieve what the world sees as success what would I really have?  What would I really have if I didn’t know Jesus?  In the end I would still end up dead.  I may end up with a bunch of money to hand down, but I would still be dead.  If I was to live my entire life successfully, as the world sees it, and not know Jesus, I would end up dead and forever separated from God.  I would have lived for nothing.  All would be in vain.

But all of that changes when you know Jesus.  Your heart changes.  Your thirst for the things of this world will be quenched.  He gives you living water that is so much better than the water of the world.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

When you know Jesus you will have eternal life.  Will that make your life easy?  No!  It may make it harder.  Following Jesus is not the easy road, but it is the road that leads to life.  It leads to an abundant life.  Not with the things of the world that are perishable, but with the things of heaven.

 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:9-11

My prayer is that if you don’t know Jesus, He begins to work in your heart.  I pray you know that He came down to earth

to take our punishment for our

sins.  We deserve death, but He took our death on the cross and gave us life. 

I pray you repent and put your faith in Jesus and live the life He gives. 

I pray that if you know Jesus that you are living for Him and not chasing your own god. 

I pray you aren’t thirsting for the water of this world but that you

share the water of Jesus Christ by sharing His gospel.  From there what you do is not what defines you. 

Jesus Christ defines you. 

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Get in His Word!  Stay in His Word! 

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About It!!!

good news

The bad news first.  I am a sinner.  I am a liar. I am a thief. I have pretty much broken all Ten Commandments.  I am doomed! I am a sinner!

How did this happen? How am I this bad? Is there hope?  Where is the good news??

You see, along came a serpent that asked a simple question, “Did God really say?” And then he replied to the answer “that is because you will be like Him.” Often this continues to be what plays out when we sin. The question gets asked and then we choose to try to be our own God. Our sin separates us from God because He is so Holy. But He gives us a way to be next to Him.

In the Old Testament God kept coming for His people. He chose a nation for Himself to make holy. Through this nation a redeemer would come to the world. Even though this nation kept disobeying, God kept saving them. He chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. He did not give them a law to obey before he rescued them. He saved them from the rule of Pharaoh then He gave the law. The order of redemption is Salvation, Obedience, and Blessing. This is a theme throughout the Bible.

Knowing that the law couldn’t be kept God allowed animal sacrifice to atone for sins. The penalty of sin is death. Blood is the source of life. It must be spilled to atone for sin. A sacrificial system was laid out by God, but it pointed to something greater.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

As time went on Israel kept falling. The whole time this was going on God kept pointing to one moment in history. The Holy Spirit led some to prophecy about it hundreds of years before it happened.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:1-9

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:1-18

These are just a few examples of the many. God has always been pointing to His plan to redeem. This wasn’t just for Israel. His plan is for all the nations. He gave us His only begotten Son. He came and did what the law could not do. He came and did what sacrificing lambs and goats could not do. He is the perfect Lamb. He is the scapegoat.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

God, knowing that we couldn’t keep the law, came down to us and became a man. He kept the law His entire life, being tempted as we are tempted, feeling the same suffering we do, yet He did not fall.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

He lived a perfect life without blemish. He did so knowing the pain of the cross was His main mission. He did so amongst many who hated Him. Many spit on him. Many thought He was just crazy. Yet He lived a life of perfection rooted in the Word and abiding in the Holy Father.

Then comes the humiliation. The scourging. The Cross. His death was the worst in history. The beating and the scourging took Him inches away from death. Then He had to carry His cross with a crown of thorns placed on His head.  Then they nailed Him to the cross.  Nails through His wrists and feet and the He was raised up to hang there suffocating.

On the cross came His Words:

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.  Luke 23:34

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

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His blood is the blood of the perfect Lamb. It was spilled to cover sins. Every sin committed and yet to be committed.  His sacrifice is what the old system pointed to yet could not fulfill.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthian 5:21

This took place for whosoever believes in Him. He suffered the worst death one could suffer so our sins can be forgiven. He suffered the worst death one could suffer so whosoever believes can have eternal life.

This is Good News!

It doesn’t end here. After this happened Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights.

For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40

Then He rose. Not just spirit, but bodily. This is Good News! This is the resurrection. This is what Sunday is all about. He has risen! Risen indeed! Now we have an advocate with God.  Now we share in His resurrection.  Now we are free from the slavery of sin.  Now death has been defeated.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,   1 Peter 1:3

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

I pray you believe.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

Holy Father, You are almighty God. You set heaven and earth in place. You make all possible. I pray that the readers of this believe in Your Son. I pray they are “whoever”. Lord, work in their hearts. There is nothing we can do. You have done it all. Others say “do, do, do,” you have said “it is finished.” Holy Spirit, work in hearts to take out hearts of stone and make them flesh. Let us put our faith in Christ Who died the worst death, taking on the sins of the world, so whoever believes and repents can be forgiven. Thank You so much for Your Son, giving us forgiveness, a way to turn from sin with a hearts of repentance, and eternal life with You. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. Thank You for Your Word to show us the reflection of who we are and the way to know Who You are. May we always find You there.  I pray all of this according to Your will being done on earth as it is in Heaven. I pray all of this in the Name above all names. In the only Name that saves. I pray in the Name of my Lord, Savior, Healer, Sanctifier, coming King, Yessuah AhMessiach, Jesus Christ. Amen

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  Ephesians 1:3-10

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THIS IS GOOD NEWS!!

How We Get Stronger

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I am a personal fitness trainer and strength coach.  Clients come to my gym to lose weight and get stronger.  Some may think it will happen just by coming in.  Some may think they will get results by doing just enough.  Some may think there is some magic trick that only the trainers know.  These people often don’t last long.  They don’t understand that in order to get stronger you have to lift things that you haven’t lifted before.  In order to get results you have to be challenged.  Many trainers have used this great saying “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”  So in order to get stronger you need to lift heavier weights. I look at faith in a similar way.  If there are not challenges in your life how can your faith grow? How can your faith increase?  If things continue on in a nice status quo manner is anything making you stronger spiritually?

So we pray for our faith to be increased.  This is one of the best things to pray for.  Just be ready and understand what that may mean.  Understand that in order to increase your faith, it may be challenged.  This should not discourage you from praying that prayer. In fact, let it encourage you knowing that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I wrote a post a few months ago about faith being a gift from God.  For Him to increase our faith is a huge gift. It comes with many blessings.  But like I stated, it may come with trials.  Persevering through those trials is what we need to do .

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

The enemy will try to attack. He will come at you and tell you to give up.  He will come and tell you to run away from your faith and not to trust anyone.  He will show you the dangers that having faith will bring.  But much like lifting a heavy weight and being under the barbell when you are on the bench, you know when you lift that weight you will become stronger. You know that you have a spotter, a coach, a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ, who will be with you as you press that bar of trial off of your chest and high to the sky.  Then you pray for more faith and put some more weight on that bar.

Remember this too, Jesus won’t give you what you can already handle.  No! He is looking to get you stronger. Prepare for more than you think you will get.  Why? Because He is there with you.

Let’s take a look at Peter. Here is a man who was out fishing.  Jesus said to him “follow me” and He did.  Throughout each Gospel story Peter is asking many questions.  Even after just following Him without asking why at that moment.  Even after walking on water.  When Jesus asked the Apostles who they thought He was, Peter gave an answer.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  Matthew 16:15-18 peter

This answer that Peter gave was of faith.  Jesus even told Him this faith was given to him by God and not man.  He then called him a rock and said on this confession of Him as the Christ the church will be built.

Something I find interesting about Peter was even after these miraculous things, his faith was tested even more.  Tested to the point of him denying to know Jesus even after he told Jesus he would not.  Even after this Jesus still loved him.   He was not done with him.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:7

Peter went on to do many great things in the face of persecution.  He preached, healed, raised to life, all by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Everyday his faith must have been challenged and everyday his faith must have grown.  In fact he wrote:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter  1:3-9

I can pick several people in scripture who faced trials and tribulation, all the while their faith increased.  God could have just left them alone.  He could have turned His face from them.  He can turn His face from us.  But He loved them and loves us.  He blessed them and he blesses us.  He sent His Son to die on the cross just so we can be with Him.  We are sinners who deserve death but we get life, freedom, grace, mercy, love, and faith.

There are many promises in the bible.  One way I know it is true is because we are promised tribulation.  We see that everyday.  But we also see hope.  We believe in hope because after three days in the grave our Savior rose from the dead. He is alive and in every believer.  He can raise our broken spirits back from the dead.  He can raise our broken relationships back from the dead.  He will leave the 99 sheep to get the one. He will welcome you home meeting you on the road as He sees you in the distance.

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Your faith may be under the bar right now.  The weight may be more than you can handle.  Stop trying to lift that bar alone.  Those hand that are helping you lift it have wrists that have been pierced so you can know you are not alone under that bar.  I might have a day where I miss the spot and the bar crushes you.  Man will fail.  God will not.  Sometimes He will just spot you with 2 fingers instead of pulling the bar off quick.

benchspot

I pray that if you are reading this and don’t know the Savior I speak of, that you desire to know Him.  I pray He is at work in your heart right now.  I pray that you get on your knees and talk to God.  Ask Him to show Himself to you.  Tell Him what you are feeling.  Tell Him what you want.  Ask Him to give you faith, and if you have it, ask Him to increase it.  If you are under the heavy barbell press hard.  Jesus is with you. A funny thing about faith, it really doesn’t take much for miracles to happen.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.  Luke 17:5-6

increase faith