All posts by Alan B. Zibluk

Why a Child of God Should Not Worry

Worrying is a choice we make

Written by Gary Schneider on 07/08/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Obedience, Worry
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2
For some of us, worrying is part of our everyday life. However, God’s Word is very clear about us worrying, In Isaiah 43:2, it says: 

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

Did you know that worry is optional?
Yes, worrying is a choice we make. Here are three ways we can deal with worry in our lives: 

We can worry
We can ignore the stress, or
We can relax and trust God
 In Psalm 116:7, David reminded himself of God’s promises: “I said to myself, Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Like David, some days we need to say this to ourselves (out-loud) many times over. 

You can’t worry and trust God at the same time.  It’s impossible.
That’s not just good spiritual wisdom from the Lord; it applies to your health as well.  The Bible says in Proverbs 14:30 that a heart at peace is a healthy heart.  “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”

It’s not just what you eat that destroys your health—it’s what eats you.  You can have the best health plan around- eat fresh, healthy food in proper portions- but if you’re resentful against someone in your life or worry about the future, your health will suffer.

We deal with all sorts of worry in our lives.  Most of them are in these 5 areas:

We’ll be left alone
We won’t know what to do in the future
We won’t have what we need in the future
We’ll be hurt by something or someone in the future
We won’t have the strength to survive in the future
But there’s good news:  You don’t have to worry.  Worry is optional misery.  We have many things that impact our health that we cannot control, but we can control the amount we worry!

God has more than 7,000 promises in the Bible that are remedies to the 5 things mentioned above.  Here are a few of them that I encourage you to memorize so that you can speak these (out loud) to yourself, just as David did:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38-39)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11:28-29)

If you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you know the One who created your future.  His promises about your future give life. Ultimately, we have no need to worry.  The One who holds our future will walk with us through it.

Pray this week:
Lord, I lift up all my worries up to you.  Please grant me your peace and wisdom so that I can be obedient in your Word. Amen. 

In what area of your life are you struggling to trust God, causing unneeded worry? What promise from God will you claim to help you trust Him more and worry less?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

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Fully Facing Our Fears

Learn how to face your fears and live in peace

Written by June Hunt on 01/05/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: FaithFearGodTrust


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

If I am walking down a path, and spot a rattlesnake at my feet, I should feel fear. But, reacting rashly could cause me to be bitten. If a bee were to land on me, I must not react to it to avoid being stung. The bee sting and the snakebite are defense mechanisms designed for their own self-protection.

Fear is a God-given response to danger. Sometimes it’s clear where the fear is from, but other times, it is hidden—causing a deeper emotional impact. God created us to react to fear in a protective way with a fight, flight, or freeze response. While fear is a natural, God-given emotion, fearfulness is not. Fearfulness causes us to live as prisoners, in constant worry over a threat that may or may not exist. We can live in a state of fearfulness when we feel threatened—either physically or emotionally—in these three areas: love, significance, and security.

Your love from others feels in danger.

Do you ever fear losing someone important in your life? Maybe you’ve thought, “If I lose the dearest person in my life, I won’t know what to do or how I can go on living.” You might fear losing relationships if your performance, talents, or abilities are not “good enough.” Or maybe it’s about declining physical attractiveness, fearing that if you start looking older or put on weight, you will lose the affection of others. The solution to the fear of losing love is to know that the Lord loves you beyond measure.  “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him…” (Psalm 103:11).

Your significance feels in danger.

Do you find yourself fearing that you might lose your sense of identity? Perhaps you’ve thought, “If I lose my job, I’ll lose all I’ve worked to achieve.” You fear losing a sense of fulfillment, thinking that you are a failure if you don’t reach your goals. Or you’re concerned about your reputation, fearing that others will lose respect for you if they get to know the real you. The solution to overcoming the fear of losing significance is to understand your value to God. He chose to save you and has planned a future for you. …   “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).  

Your security feels in danger.

Do you worry about financial security? Perhaps you’ve thought, “If I don’t do well on this project, I might lose my job. Then I won’t be able to support myself or my family.” Maybe you fear losing your home and having nowhere to live, no means for survival. Or perhaps you have fear about your declining physical health; maybe you constantly worry about getting sick or dying. The solution is in knowing that true and lasting security is found in a personal relationship with the Lord. …  “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11).  

God can help when we experience fear and danger. Turn to God and take this verse to heart … “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).


Pray this week:

Dear God, I thank You that You are my Shepherd. You guide me … You protect me … and You give me Your peace. You are the One who restores my soul. You know my weaknesses and the times I’ve caved in to fear. Now, in my weakness, I choose to rely on Your strength. By Your power, move me from fear to faith. As I turn my fear over to You, use it for good in my life to remind me of my need for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 


What in your life is currently causing you to fear? What would it look like to trust God and move in faith in your situation? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

No atheist ever could show prove of what they are assuming or believing

No atheist ever could show prove of what they are assuming or believing. And to assume is like you don't know and that is very bad cause some atheist are educated. Which scares me.

 

Pseudo-science anticipated (1 Timothy 6:20). The theory of evolution contradicts the observable evidence. The Bible warned us in advance that there would be those who would profess: “profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (science).” True science agrees with the Creator’s Word.

 

Human conscience understood (Romans 2:14-15). The Bible reveals that God has impressed His moral law onto every human heart. Con means with and science means knowledge. We know it is wrong to murder, lie, steal, etc. Only the Bible explains that each human has a God-given knowledge of right and wrong.

 

Love explained (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 John 4:7-12). Evolution cannot explain love. Yet, God’s Word reveals that the very purpose of our existence is to know and love God and our fellow man. God is love, and we were created in His image to reflect His love.

 

The cause of suffering revealed (Genesis 3; Isaiah 24:5-6). The earth is subject to misery, which appears at odds with our wonderfully designed universe. However, the Bible, not evolution, explains the origin of suffering. When mankind rebelled against God, the curse resulted – introducing affliction, pain and death into the world.

 

The Bible is inspired by the Creator. Therefore it is no surprise that life’s ultimate questions are answered within its pages. The Bible reveals the purpose of our existence. Scripture alone explains where our conscience came from. And no other source explains the root cause of death. Seeing that all die, wouldn’t it be wise to search for the remedy in the only book that proves it was inspired by God? The Bible offers the only remedy for sin, suffering, and death. God’s Word presents the only perfect, sinless Savior – one who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Jesus is the Creator (John 1; Colossians 1). He said “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). And He promises His followers: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). Your eternal destiny will be determined by your choice. There is only one provision for sin. Jesus died in your place. Only by faith in Christ’s finished work will you be saved. This is God’s free gift offered to all. Please do not let pride, religion, opinions, or love for sin separate you from God. No sin is worth an eternity in hell. Please heed Jesus’ words – “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). If you do, you will live in heaven with our awesome Creator forever!

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Unforgivable Sin

Matthew 12:31-32 – The Unforgivable Sin
By Jeremy Myers 
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Most Christians have wondered at some point in their life if they have committed the unforgivable sin. I have personally talked with Christians who were divorced, got an abortion, or committed adultery, and thought they had committed the unforgivable sin. Others think that suicide is the unforgivable sin. If a person commits suicide, then they are going to hell. Then I have talked with some who believe that the unforgivable sin is rejecting God. They believe that if you are a Christian and you go back to living like you aren’t a Christian, or if you curse Jesus, or deny that you ever knew Him, then this is the unforgivable sin.

Unforgivable SinI recently wrote a book about the unforgivable sin, which you can get on Amazon. It is titled, Why you have not committed the Unforgivable Sin.

You can read a short summary of the book here and learn about the unpardonable sin. Below is an the text of a sermon I preached on Matthew 12:31-32, which is where Jesus warns about the unforgivable sin.

All Christians can Commit All Sins
But did you know that there are people in the Bible who have committed one or all of these sins whom we all expect to see in heaven? Let me show you.

Take divorce first. Did you know that God is a divorced person? We read in Jeremiah 3:8 that God divorced Israel. Yet we certainly all expect to see God in heaven.

What about abortion? They didn’t really have abortion back then the way we do now, but if you believe, as I do, that abortion is taking the life of another human being, then we can call abortion the murder of babies. Abortion is a form of infanticide. Yet we know from Ezekiel 16:21 that many of the Israelites did this as a form of idol worship. They offered their children to false idols as human sacrifices. While not all Israelites had eternal life, some of those who did this will still be in heaven.

Then there is adultery. David, the man after God’s own heart committed adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:4), as did many of the other kings and rulers of Israel. Paul sometimes writes about adultery among church members who will make it to heaven, but will lose their inheritance and reward there. Suicide is talked about too. Samson (Jdg. 16:29-30) committed suicide, and we believe he will be in heaven. King Saul also committed suicide (1 Sam. 31:4-5); 1 Chr. 10:4-5), and he will be in heaven as well. The most famous example of someone who rejected and denied Christ is Peter. He even used profanity and curses in denying any connection to Jesus Christ. Yet we know that he was forgiven and will be in heaven.

In fact, there are a whole host of other sins mentioned in the Bible that true believers have committed, yet we know from other Scriptures that these people will still be in heaven. The Bible talks about believers who commit idolatry (1 King 11:1-10). We read of others who believe only for a while and then fall away (Luke 8:13). We read of some who do not continue in the Word of Christ (John 8:31), do not abide in Christ (John 15:1-8), become disqualified in the race of the Christian life (1 Cor 9:24-27), resist God’s correction up to the point of physical death (1 Cor 11:30-32).

Others stray from the faith (1 Tim 1:5-6), shipwreck their faith (1 Tim 1:18-20), fall away from the faith (1 Tim 4:1-3), deny the faith (1 Tim 5:8), cast off initial faith to follow Satan (1 Tim. 5:12-15), stray from the faith by loving money (1 Tim. 6:9-10), stray from the faith by teaching false doctrine (1 Tim. 6:20-21), and deny Christ and live faithless lives (2 Tim 2:11-13).

We have the examples of people in the Bible who murdered and committed adultery, and yet were said to be saved (Jacob’s sons). Other men, like Solomon, Amaziah and Uzziah will most likely be in heaven, but did not live very faithfully to God during their lives. Some of them committed adultery, had multiple wives, committed murder, and fell into idolatry.

Then there is the righteous man who commits unrighteousness and dies as a result of it in Ezekiel 18, and the man in 1 Corinthians 5 who was involved in an incestuous relationship with his mother in law. Lot who committed incest with his daughters. Ananais and Sapphira in Acts 5 and so many other examples in Scripture of genuine believers who fell away.

The point of all of this is to show that the grace of God runs deeper and wider than most of us will ever know.

The ocean of God’s grace never runs dry. The limits of God’s grace never are reached.

But what about when someone commits the unforgivable sin?

unforgivable sin

Is There A Sin God Does not Forgive?
We have all encountered the troubling passage in Matthew 12:31-32 which indicates that there is a sin which the grace of God does not cover.

Matthew 12:31-32 is often pointed to as proof that we can lose our salvation. The sin mentioned in this passage is often referred to as the unpardonable sin or unforgivable sin. It is said that if you commit this sin, then no matter how good of a Christian you have been up to that point and no matter how much you repent or confess afterward, you will not make it to heaven.

Let us take a closer look at Matthew 12:31-32 to see what it really says. Let’s begin with Matthew 12:31.

Matthew 12:31. Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

We learn in Matthew 12:31 that every sin will be forgiven, except one – the blasphemy against the Spirit.

Let’s look first at this concept that every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men. We know what sin is. It is when we do something contrary to God’s character or will. When God tells us what He wants us to do, and we don’t do it, we sin. James puts it this way, “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do, and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Blasphemy is similar. The most basic definition of blasphemy is to speak evil or injuriously about God. So blasphemy is a sin of the tongue. A sin that uses words and thoughts rather than actions. So right away, all of this sins listed above that involve actions are not what Jesus is talking about. In fact, the only sin mentioned above that involves actions and thoughts is the sin of denying Christ and speaking against Him. So blasphemy against Christ is to speak evil or injuriously about Him. But jump ahead to Matthew 12:32. Look what Jesus says there. He says that speaking against the Son of Man will be forgiven.

So all of the possible sins we began with are now seen to be forgivable. Divorce, adultery, abortion, suicide all fall under the category of “every sin” and these are all forgiven. If you have committed any of these sins, you are forgiven! Jesus said it! All sins will be forgiven!

But what about blasphemies? Blasphemies will also be forgiven, even those spoken against Jesus Christ. If you have spoken a word against Jesus Christ, this too is forgiven. You have been forgiven.

It is only the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit that will not be forgiven.

But what does this mean?

What is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?
What is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Matthew 12:32 helps us answer this question.

Matthew 12:32. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

The sin that will not ever be forgiven is not speaking against Jesus Christ, but speaking against the Holy Spirit.

But what is this sin, and how is it committed?

Have you Committed the Unforgivable Sin?
So, how do you know if you have committed the unforgivable sin?

First, if you have believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life, then you have eternal life (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47) and it is no longer possible for you to blaspheme the Holy Spirit in this way.

Since you have believed in Jesus for eternal life, the Holy Spirit has stopped working upon you as He does with non-Christians, and is now indwelling within you to mold you, shape you, and form you into Christlikeness. Yes, you can still sin against the Holy Spirit by quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit, but you cannot blaspheme the Spirit in the way Jesus talks about in Matthew 12:31-32.

So if you are a believer, don’t worry about committing the unforgivable sin. The chance to commit it is forever in your past.

If, however, you are not a Christian, and are worrying about whether you have committed this sin, be encouraged. Nobody who commits the blasphemy against the Spirit wonders if they have.

People who have committed the unforgivable sin do not care that they have committed it. They do not even wonder if they have. They simply don’t care about such things anymore because the Holy Spirit has stopped convicting them of sin.

The unbeliever who commits this sin has become so morally and spiritually blind that their heart is hardened to the point that they no longer care about spiritual things and will never believe in Jesus.

So if you are worrying about whether or not you have committed this sin, be encouraged … for caring about whether or not you commit it is clear evidence you have not!

If you still worry about the unforgivable sin, then make sure you will never be able to commit it. How? Believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47). The Holy Spirit is drawing you to Jesus, and He wants you to believe in Jesus. If you believe in Jesus, then the Spirit regenerates, indwells, baptizes, and seals you, and you can never commit the unforgivable sin. Ever. Why not? Because this sin can only be committed by those who are not yet believers and upon whom the Spirit is working to draw them to Jesus. Once they are “in the family” the work of the Spirit changes from drawing you to Jesus to conforming you into the image of Jesus. And no matter what, He will never stop doing this. Never.

Yes, you might have committed some terrible sin. You might have said something you really regret. But guess what? Whatever sin you may have committed, whatever words you may have said, you are still being convicted by it, which is good. This means the Holy Spirit is at work in your life to point this out to you. God has not abandoned you to your sin. So simply confess this sin, and abandon yourself to the love of God.

God’s grace covers over all your sin, past, present, and future.

God wants all men to be saved, and through the Holy Spirit, He draws all men to Jesus Christ. The light shines in their lives and grace calls them to Jesus.

If a person wants forgiveness and desires the love of God, God will never turn such a person away. Not ever.

The person who has committed the unforgivable sin does not want forgiveness, does not desire the love of God, and does not even have a thought for God in their lives. People who blaspheme the Holy Spirit have so hardened their hearts that they do not realize the condition they are in, nor do they care. They are not crying out to God for light or help or salvation. They just live their lives without a thought for God or a care in the world for spiritual matters. The Holy Spirit has ceased to work on their hearts and they are completely given over to the darkness of their hearts and the spiritual blindness of their eyes.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a serious sin that only unbelievers can commit, and even then, only when they have resisted the Holy Spirit for many years and have come to the point that they so completely reject what He is trying to do in their life, that they openly and verbally denounce Him and Jesus Christ and the feelings of sin and guilt in their own lives as the work of Satan in their lives.

Unforgivable SinI am not sure if we can ever know if a person has committed the unforgivable sin or not in their lives, but one thing we can know – if we have believed in Jesus for eternal life, we have already responded positively to the Holy Spirit’s work in our life, and so the opportunity to commit the unforgivable sin is past.

The unforgivable sin is not a sin a Christian can commit.

At the same time, if an unbeliever fears they have committed this sin, then they clearly have not, because someone who has committed the unforgivable sin would have such a hard heart that such thoughts would not even enter their mind.

If you’re afraid you’ve committed the unpardonable sin, stop worrying. Jesus is not a liar!

If you believe in Him for eternal life, then you’ve got it. It’s that simple. He guarantees it.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How to Conquer Stress Fear and Anxiety

 

God speaks about fear and anxiety in plain terms in the Bible.

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 01/01/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Anxiety, Fear, God, Stress, Trust
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 4:6-7
In Matthew 14:22-32, the disciples found themselves in a very stressful situation. They were in a small boat in the middle of the sea when a great wind came up, making their boat toss back and forth. Many of these disciples were fishermen, so they knew the dangers of the storms on the sea very well. Under their circumstances, most likely they felt that they may not make it through the storm alive. However, what is often missed in this story is that in verse 22 it says that Jesus “…made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side.”  Jesus knew full well what was going to happen to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, so this could actually be called a “spiritual test.”  It should never surprise a believer that God will often test their faith in Him by placing them in a very stressful or uncomfortable situation.

Why can we say that stressful moments should not cause us to be afraid or anxious?
God is most often the author of what happens in our life. He is always wanting to do something in us so that he can do something through us, and many times He is more than willing to place us in a situation that we did not create and one that we cannot control.  So, in the midst of those kinds of difficulties, it is such an important lesson to learn that God controls all things and that there is nothing that He cannot control. He is never caught by surprise by what happens to someone, and that is why Paul could so confidently say in Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

No matter what may happen to us as believers, what the Scriptures teach is that if we truly are trusting God, we will find that even the anxious and stressful moments are things that He allows to happen to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes we become so distracted with other things that we lose focus on what is eternally important, so God often times raises up very difficult and trying circumstances to help us see more clearly what His greater purposes are for our life.

So, what is God really saying when He says that we do not need to be anxious about anything?
The utterly amazing part of Philippians 4:6-7 is when Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Our normal behavior is to constantly worry about things that in the big picture really have a very minor impact in our lives, making it difficult to stay focused and ignore the eternal issues that will define our eternity. When I read a statement like “Do not be anxious about anything,” I immediately realize that God is staking His reputation on this statement. He is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and compassionate God, that He simply does not want us to somehow miss the reality of His control over whatever may happen in our lives. For someone who simply created the heavens and the earth with just a word, taking care of any problem or difficulty we may have is simply no big deal.

This is what is so amazing about these verses because when fully understand they are God’s way of saying that we can cast our every care on Him no matter what our stressful circumstances may be saying to us.  1 Peter 5:6-7 explains it this way:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.

Not long ago, the nuclear plant where my oldest son had worked for seven years was shut down. Everyone that worked there lost their job – 5,000 people in one day without any notice. My son and his family were traveling home at the time when he received the phone call and his wife called us to let us know. In that process, she made the remarkable statement that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him. They never became anxious about what my son losing his job was going to do to their life, but they sincerely found that trusting God in the middle of an outwardly stressful reality was really not difficult. To them, it just seemed to be the most natural thing to trust in God. 

If we can trust Him completely with our eternity, then surely we can trust Him with our present circumstances.

The Bible never promises believers that life will be easy and it never promises that there will be no problems.  However, what it does promise is that when life is difficult and when there are very real problems affecting our life that God has all of the right answers and all of the resources to see us through those stressful moments in our life.  It is His way of helping us to trust Him.

Pray this week:
“Father, I come to you seeking the grace that I know I will need for the difficult times in my life that will challenge both my faith and my confidence in You.  You are a great God and I seek your grace for the strength, courage, and wisdom that I need to trust you fully with my life.”

If someone else were to examine my life when life creates very anxious moments for me, would they be able to tell someone else that I was truly trusting God in the midst of those difficult times?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Joseph’s Christmas Story: Full-On Faith

Joseph shows us how to react to surprising and difficult circumstances.

Written by GodLife on 18/12/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChristmasFaithGraceHumilityJesusJoseph


When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:24-25

Considering the birth of Jesus, it’s an interesting exercise to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. Think about it. As he is making preparations to marry his fiance, Mary, he learns that she has become pregnant even though they have not been together as man and wife.

What would your first reaction be? Rage? Sorrow? Disappointment? Shame? Any of these emotions would be certainly understandable. However, Joseph didn’t react like this at all!

Let’s look into what Joseph’s reaction was and how God was present, helping him all the way through one of the most difficult times in his life.

Humility and grace

Purity was a huge deal in the Jewish culture of the day, so marrying a woman who had become pregnant out of wedlock was not something that was seen as acceptable. Because of this, when Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, the Bible says he decided to quietly separate from her and move on with his life.

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19)

This act of grace alone shows that Joseph is a man of great integrity, because many young men in that culture would have put her to shame.

The power of faith

As the story continues, we see that Joseph has remained with Mary through her pregnancy, all while he contemplates what his next steps should be. Then he gets a visit from an angel of the Lord who tells Him that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit and commands him to stay with Mary and name her baby Jesus.

If this happened to you, what would you think? Would you say ‘Yes Lord!’ or would you be scared and doubt that what you heard was actually from God? I think most of us would doubt, but here’s how Joseph responded:

“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)

Extreme faith. That’s what it took for Joseph to listen to the angel of the Lord and believe that God was watching over him and directing his steps. 

Joseph’s story shows us the power of faith and what can be accomplished if we simply believe. Will you believe what the Lord is telling you today about your difficult life circumstances?


Pray this week:

Lord, thank you for showing me what it means to have complete faith in you, no matter how crazy the circumstances are around me. Help me to trust you like Joseph did and believe that you have the best for me. Amen.


When have you had a hard time trusting the Lord with a difficult circumstance in your life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

One Man’s Death Every Man’s Guarantee

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man

Tags: Death, Easter, Hope, Life, Power, Resurrection
We all keep hoping for peace. World War I was "the war to end all wars." Then we found ourselves in the midst of World War II-again sending out sons, husbands, and fathers who may not return.

The wars kept coming. Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Each one pouring out death and destruction to an extent the world hadn’t witnessed previously. If only military victory carried a lifetime guarantee of no more death, no more failure, no more fear. Or better yet, an eternal guarantee.

But only one man’s death carries that guarantee.

No human effort to build a better world can guarantee lasting peace in the Persian Gulf, or Somalia, or anywhere else for that matter. The freedom that costs the blood of our precious young men and women isn’t permanent. It lasts only until another aggressive power comes along, unjustly claiming supremacy over others. Then the bloodshed starts all over again.

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man. Death is man’s legacy; life is God’s. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).

Good Friday, when we remember the cruel death of Jesus Christ on the cross, is a day that man made because of sin. But Resurrection Sunday is God’s Day. He made it. Only the power of God could have raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Man’s deepest yearnings for life, power, and hope find fulfillment in the meaning of Easter.

Life
Resurrection speaks of life. Jesus Christ is alive today! Here in the northern hemisphere, Resurrection Sunday comes in the spring. After a long, cold winter, nature comes alive. In the spring, one is prompted to think of resurrection. It’s a new beginning.

Death is our enemy. But life is ours in Jesus Christ. Death brings fear. The Resurrection gives peace. Thoughts about death often lead to depression. The reality of the Resurrection leads to hope. Death speaks of separation, but the Resurrection speaks of a life that is indestructible, in union forever with the risen Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, "When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins" (Colossians 2:13). We are alive to God because the risen life of Christ is our life. All of us who have Jesus Christ in our hearts know that He’s alive. That’s why we love to sing, "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart." The Lord affirmed, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That speaks of His life in us!

When Jesus came out of the grave, having finished the work on the cross, having shed His blood, having taken the punishment for our sins on His own body, He was able to give us life, because He was alive, risen from the dead.

Do you have this life? Have you experienced what it is to come alive in Jesus Christ? Have you experienced what the Bible calls a "new birth"?

To be born again means that Jesus Christ actually comes into your life. Instead of being dead to God, dead to the things of God, not understanding what God is like, you come alive. You become a new person who can understand the things of God.

The Resurrection speaks of life; not only the life of Christ, alive from the tomb, but also an abundant inner life for us, here and now, daily.

Jesus Christ also opened a way into heaven. We no longer have to fear death, because we are united with Christ. A Christian has been resurrected with Jesus Christ. Christ’s victory is our victory both now and in the future. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed him "who holds the power of death-that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).

Power
Resurrection also speaks of power. Before the Lord was raised from the dead, the apostles were quite a miserable lot. What was wrong? What was it that they lacked? They lacked power!

Until the Lord Jesus was resurrected, was raised up into heaven and the Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles were still afraid and in hiding.

But on the Day of Pentecost, Peter, who had earlier been afraid of the accusations of a servant girl, stood up in front of several thousand people and said, very boldly, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). What brought on this boldness?

Peter now was filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit! He had the risen life of Jesus Christ in him. The power that brought Christ out of the grave is for us now. God’s power is not something that we work up ourselves. It comes only from the indwelling Holy Spirit.

If you lack power in your life, power to overcome temptation, power to witness for Jesus Christ, then you need to allow God’s Spirit to fill you. You need to acknowledge His life in you and let Him live through you.

The life of Christ dwells in every one who by faith receives Him. Your life can be filled with the power of the living Lord Jesus Christ. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).

Hope
Hope? Yes, resurrection also speaks of a secure hope. My father’s body is buried in a little cemetery in Argentina. But my father has been with Jesus Christ all these 48 years since his physical death. One day his body is going to be resurrected, just as the body of Jesus was resurrected.

For those who know the Lord Jesus, that fact is very real. The Lord is coming back! The Bible says that one of these days, we shall be changed "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52). What a marvelous reality!

When my father died, we sang a hymn at his funeral:

Face to face, O blissful moment.

Face to face, to see and know.

Face to face with my Redeemer,

Jesus Christ who loved me so.

Face to face I shall behold Him,

Far beyond the starry sky.

Face to face in all His glory,

I shall see Him by and by.

This is the hope that the Resurrection gives you. We know we shall see the Lord Jesus face to face in all His glory. Do you have that hope? Do you have that assurance? Do you know for sure that you’ll see Him?

If the resurrected Christ does not live in your heart and you die today, what hope would you have? There is no "reincarnation," no "second chance." But if Christ lives in you, then there is the secure hope of eternal life with the Lord Jesus, forever. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish," He has said (John 10:28).

A minister’s son, 28 years old, married with two children, had cancer. Each of the several specialists who examined him said the cancer would take his life. I was the guest speaker at the minister’s church on the Sunday that his son died, early that morning. This pastor, who had suffered so much for two years seeing his son slowly dying, was at perfect peace. He described the last few hours he spent with him. His son had said, "Dad, tonight I’m going to be with Jesus."

"Aren’t you lucky to get there before me, David," his father said. "To think that tonight you will actually see Moses in person, and Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist!"

Then his father said, "But son, best of all, you’re going to see the Lord Jesus. And when you see Him, David, will you tell him that your father loves Him very much?"

The reason this man had such tremendous peace when I spoke with him a few hours after his son’s death was because his son was with the Lord Jesus. That’s what knowing Jesus Christ will do for you.

If the Lord Jesus returned today, would He welcome you into His presence? Have you opened your life to Jesus Christ?

You can receive the Lord Jesus by a simple prayer of faith. Believe in Him, invite Him into your heart, and become a child of God. Make sure that you will be part of that resurrection day when the Lord Jesus comes back for His own.

Make this prayer your own, quietly now, as you finish this article:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that because of Easter, You’ve made it possible for me to have a new beginning. Thank You for Your death on the cross, paying the penalty for my sins. Thank You for Your resurrection three days later. You’re alive and now You offer me new life, power and hope here and now and for all eternity. Please forgive my sins and make me part of Your family. I gladly receive You and put my trust in You. Amen.

What is your favorite part of the Easter season? Which Easter truth gives you the most hope and peace? Did you pray the prayer at the end of the article for the first time? If so, talk to a caring Christian about it and be encouraged!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God is Holy God is Love

Can God be both Holy and loving?

Written by Joy on 17/01/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GodHolinessLove


Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says, ‘I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ The Lord also says, ‘Leave them and stay away! Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean. Then I will welcome you and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful.’

2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Many say God’s holiness makes him judgmental, demanding a very high moral standard. Others say if God is loving, then he won’t condemn anyone but all will go to Heaven. Are God’s holiness and love opposite extremes?

God’s Holiness

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5).

Holiness (pictured here as light) is God’s nature. It unifies all his other characteristics. He is perfectly good, perfectly righteous, perfectly merciful, perfectly faithful, etc. All of his actions are determined by this purity that sets him apart from all others. “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.” (Leviticus 10:3)

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

God’s Purity

It is in the presence of God’s pure, holy light that we become aware of our sin. Isaiah said, “I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips…” (Isaiah 6:5) Even our good deeds are filthy compared to the purity of God’s holiness. (Isaiah 64:6Romans 3:23) God does not judge sin out of cruelty: “…His eyes are too pure to look on evil or tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13) Yet, the holy mercy and love of God provided a way for Isaiah to be purified (Isaiah 6:6-7) and he does the same for us.

God’s Holy Love

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).

Selfish motives and wrong thinking limit human love. Real love doesn’t tolerate selfish, hurtful behavior. God is pure love! (1John 4:10,161 Corinthians 13:4-7) He desires holiness for his children: He wants us to be completely set apart for Him. What parent does not wish for a “perfect” life for their child? We lack the understanding and power to give that, but God does not. God wants to give us a new life, free from sin. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

God’s holiness does not limit or oppose his love; it defines it! “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18) Are you experiencing this perfect, holy love?


Pray this week:

God, please help me experience the reality of your Holiness and understand my need for your Perfect Love. Please purify me.


How can I, a constant sinner, be accepted by a Holy, perfect God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member