I sense a big change coming on the horizon. We serve a mighty and awesome God!! I sense that the pieces are starting to fall into place – even though I am uncertain as to what exactly those pieces are. Have you ever experienced that? When you read in the Old Testament whether it was Moses or the prophets, when God spoke, things happened in mighty ways: parting the Red Sea, killing Egypt’s first born, just to name a couple. We have a God who acts decisively and deliberately; One who judges and saves. Even if we don’t understand it completely in the moment – he always moves at the perfect time.
And when they had brought them, they set them before the councils. And the high priest questioned them, saying, We strictly charged charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this mans blood upon us. Peter and the apostles answered We must obey God rather than man. – Acts 5:27-29
As I sit here in the airport terminal in Dubai and read these words, I marvel at the boldness and complete obedience of Peter as he stands firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ.
In the verses preceding this, the apostles had been busy preforming many signs and wonders. The high priest had them arrested and thrown in jail, but God sent angel to free them. They then went to the temple and started to preach again so they were brought before the high priest again who charged them to be silent.
encourage / in-ˈkər-ij / .v 1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten 2. to spur on; stimulate 3. to give help or patronage to; foster
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. — Romans 1:11-12
It seems like yesterday, almost two years ago, when I came to Cornerstone Church for the first time to welcome back a friend returning from his first short-term mission trip to India (2015) with Epaphroditus.
This friend recently moved to Iowa from Wisconsin with his wife and three kids. He left his family, lifelong friends, a good job, and all life’s comfortable conveniences because he and his wife felt as though God were calling them to go. And they did. They would end up in Monticello, Iowa, where his wife grew up and much of her family still lived.
Both of these acts—traveling to another country and the uprooting of a family—were courageous acts of faith, especially to me as an unbeliever at the time.
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7
I may not know you personally but I am going to guess that these few verses for Philippians 4 are at least somewhat familiar to you. But have you ever considered what kind of command God is placing on your life when you read this verse?
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
I often wonder if I am displaying courage as a Christian. Is there a confidence in the midst of adversity? Am I willing to speak the truth or just go along to get along?
I have a brother in Christ whose courage was recently tested at his job. A controversial procedure was taking place that goes against his beliefs as a Christian. He had to decide whether to give in and go along or take a stand. He stood and God blessed that courage.
In conversations with brothers and sisters, I have often been asked how they can support global missions. Many times they tell me they could never see themselves leaving the comforts of their home and going to a foreign land to proclaim the Gospel. Other times people feel that they cannot go on mission trips due to various circumstances, such as not having the money for a plane ticket, having to care for younger children, they can’t afford to lose income or they are unable to get the time off from work. On the surface these seem to be legitimate reasons for not going but just because someone can’t go (right now) doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of the global mission.
As Christians prayer should be second nature. It plays an important part of our walk and is our way of communicating with our heavenly Father. As his children, we should always be desiring to lift our praise and requests to our Father. He is a good Father who will give his children what they need (Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:11-13). Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus serving as our example of how and when we should pray. The disciples didn’t miss this and asked him how they should pray (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-13). Because of their question, we can now read his instructions on how to come before the Lord in prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we see Paul saying we should pray without ceasing.
So why do we make it so hard on ourselves?
Today, we went to the mountains of Kerala. They were impressive to say the least. As we looked out over these giants of granite, we couldn’t help but feel insignificant. The glory of the mountains overshadowed our presence.
When we stand in awe of things like this we need to look through the creation and onto the Creator. It is amazing to know that there is a God who created the Mountains. I can’t imagine standing in His presence, talk about insignificant.
“The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.” (Psalm 97:5-6)
It is good for us to have a big God. Too often we make God too small. We fashion him into a false idol and worship him as if he just a man with superpowers. This is blasphemy. God is greater that we can imagine. His power is without limits. Melting mountains doesn’t even begin to explain who He is.
Seeing the true God causes us to fear him, and fear is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). It is the knowledge that we are sinners and we need a Savior, and his name if Jesus Christ. Second, after accepting Christ, we are adopted into God’s family. Meaning that God is our Dad. We can honestly say my dad is bigger than your dad, and boldly stand. Recognizing the power of your Father allows you to “confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).