Yesterday we spent some time as a family reading and discussing the scriptures from The Power of the Resurrection collection.
My heart is always blessed to read and think about Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross. But this sacrifice would mean nothing if it weren't for the victory over sin and death that he proved through his resurrection.
As I thought about the sequence of the scriptures, I identified 5 major things that Christ's resurrection provides for the believer.
1. Deliverance from the penalty of sin
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:19-22)
2. Hope of eternal life
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)
3. Freedom from sin's power over us because Christ, who conquered sin, now lives in us
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:8-11)
4. Security that once made alive with Christ we can never be condemned
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:31-34)
5. Comfort that we will spend eternity with the Lord along with our believing loved ones who have died before us
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
There is so much to ponder and be grateful for when we consider Christ's resurrection! Easter time means so much more than a special service or new clothes. It's about the abundant, new life that is provided through The Power of the Resurrection! (Click here for the entire collection of resurrection verses.)
What does the Bible say about injustice? This is the question I was asking myself today as I found myself angry and discouraged once again about the evil that permeates our world.
Every day I become aware of more abuses of power and more blatant lies that are being told – lies which benefit the powerful at the expense of human beings who have no value to the powerful other than to be used as their pawns.
When I see this I feel so helpless. I want to scream out to anyone who will listen and warn them of the lies they're being told. I do not want them to be harmed by evil people who pretend they are there to help them.
As I pondered today, “What can I do? What should I do?”, I asked God to bring to mind scripture that would guide me.
The two scripture passages that he brought to my mind when it comes to what the Bible says about injustice were Psalm chapter 2 and Ephesians chapter 6.
Psalm 2 speaks about powerful people who reject God's authority. If they continue on this path, their end is destruction. And yet, God in his mercy continues to be long suffering. Just as in the days of Noah – the people had 120 years to repent until finally God's judgment fell – even now wicked people feel that they can continue to reject God without consequence, but it is only because of his long suffering and kindness that judgment has not already occurred. (2 Peter 3:3-8) The conclusion in Psalm 2 is a warning for the powerful wicked people to submit to God's authority because otherwise they are headed toward destruction, but those who put their trust in God will be blessed.
Ephesians 6:10-20 speaks about the need to put on the armor of God because our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the devil and supernatural forces of evil. The conclusion is that God's children need not be discouraged and afraid, but instead should be strong in the Lord, should continue in prayer, and should preach the gospel.
The thread that ties all of this together in my mind is the gospel – the good news that God loves the world, that he is merciful, and that he continues to be patient in giving his enemies a chance to repent.
While it seems that evil is having the upper hand, it is merely because God loves ALL, and his patience is far beyond our human understanding. When we compare ourselves to people who do terrible things, it is easy to feel we deserve God's goodness more than they do. But the truth is that compared to a holy God, even people who might score far higher on the goodness scale than others can still never meet God's standard of perfection. It is when we realize that we did not deserve God's forgiveness ourselves that we can accept God's patience with and desire to forgive even those who are so wicked.
So what do we do while we wait?
We tell others the good news that there is salvation in the name of Jesus. We proclaim the truth that God loves the world and that he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
I wish I could fix all the injustice in the world. I wish I could silence lies, stop oppressors, and right all the wrongs. And while I firmly believe in speaking truth boldly and standing up for what is right, the most important aspect of truth that I must shout far and wide, to every creature, is the truth of the gospel. After all, the gospel is the only thing that will bring peace, that will teach people to love one another, and will end oppression and abuse of power.
How do I know this? Consider the following:
When Mary learned that she would be the mother of the Savior, she said, “…his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” (Luke 1:50-53)
The Christmas song O Holy Night alludes to this idea in its third verse:
Truly he taught us to love one another,
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
And the words from its chorus, “Fall on your knees” and “Christ is the Lord” remind us that one day every knee will bow and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11)
It is so tempting to want to fight injustice in the world with my own strength. I wish I could singlehandedly take out all the bad guys and rescue all their victims. But the truth is that I can't do that. Only Jesus can change hearts – both those of moral people and those who participate in very wicked practices. And God loves each person so much that regardless of how wicked their deeds, he patiently waits for them to repent of their pride and to be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.
One day every knee will bow before Him. One day the wicked will be judged and the oppressed will be vindicated. Until then, let us tell the good news to everyone that Jesus saves.
The Bible verses I referenced in this article are not in any way an exhaustive exploration of the topic of what the Bible says about injustice. These are just a small sampling because the entire theme of the Bible is the gospel, which overcomes all oppression (remember the song? “In his name all oppression shall cease.”) I hope that when you find yourself discouraged about the injustice and evil in our world that you will look up these scriptures and study them further.
As I compiled these Bible verses for a new year, I started to see a storyline emerge. It's a storyline that reaches into the past, gives us strength for today, and a bright hope for the future.
Can you look back and see the record of God's faithfulness? He was faithful to Abraham, Moses, David, and Daniel. He has been faithful in my own life. Every morning the sun rises and every evening the sun sets because God is faithful. As we look forward to an unknown future, why should we doubt that he will continue to be faithful?
Looking to the past strengthens us and gives us confidence. Looking to the future gives us hope that one day all things will be made new. The promise of our salvation will be fulfilled completely as we leave behind this sin-cursed world.
And in light of both the past and the future, we find numerous instructions from the Bible that tell us how we ought to live in the present moment.
With the past, the present, and the future all in mind, here are some Bible verses for you to focus on as you head into a new year.
1. Trust in the unchanging faithfulness of God
Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
2. Find your strength in the Lord
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
3. Allow the Lord to direct your steps.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
4. Remember that life is short and we must use each day wisely.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
James 4:13-14 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Ephesians 5:15-16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
5. Spend time encouraging other believers in their Christian walk.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
6. Turn your anxieties into prayer.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7. Seek the kingdom of God above all else.
Matthew 6:30-33 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
8. Live within your identity as a new creature in Christ.
II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
9. Preach the gospel with your words and your testimony.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Psalm 96:1-3 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
Psalm 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
10. Watch for Christ's soon return
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
11. Be strong in the Lord and keep your spiritual armor on
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
12. Look to the promise that God will one day make all things new.
Revelation 21:1-5 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
I'm excited to live today for God's glory because he has been faithful in the past, and he has a bright future planned for those who have placed their faith in Jesus!
This is such an interesting time in our world. To have a common interest with every other human on earth is a strange feeling isn’t it? Whether you’re concerned about how the virus itself may affect you or your family, wary of what opportunities your government might take right now to remove some of your freedoms, or unsure of what the economic ramifications will be for your family , we’re all experiencing some form of uncertainty as a result of this virus.
But the truth is, virus or no virus, the same God who has always been in control is still in control right now. If nothing else, I hope this virus reminds us of that and causes us to turn our hearts to a greater dependence on the Lord.
For me personally, I’ve had to re-evaluate how much time I spend in prayer compared to how much time I spend trying to come up with my own solutions to the world’s problems. (As if that’s going to do any good anyway!)
I hope you’ll join me in praying for our world rather than overthinking everything that’s going on. I’ve collected a list of specific ways you can pray during this pandemic.
1. Pray for government leaders to have wisdom in making decisions for those under their leadership.
I Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
2. Pray for the health of your loved ones and for the healthcare workers who are caring for the sick.
James 5:14-16 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
3. Pray that the Gospel would be spread to a dying world.
I Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
4. Pray for persecuted Christians around the world. Many have been freed from prison as a result of the virus, while others are facing even greater difficulties than they had previously.
Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
5. Pray for victims of spousal and child abuse. For many, staying home for weeks on end with an abusive parent or spouse will be psychologically and physically damaging without the reprieve of work or school.
Proverbs 31:8-9 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
6. Pray for the emotional needs people will have during times of isolation, especially those who will be cut off from family.
Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
7. Pray that God would comfort those who have lost loved ones and give peace to those who have ill family members.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8. Pray for God’s provision during a time of economic hardship
Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
9. Pray for revival in the church. Pray that believers would exhibit unity and love to one another, that our hearts would be alerted to the urgency to spread the gospel, that God would increase our faith in Him.
Ephesians 5:15-19 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
1o. Pray that God would give you personal opportunities to show His love to others during this time.
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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There is a disease that is more deadly than any disease the earth has ever known. It has killed more people than every virus combined, and yet I rarely hear it spoken of. The news media regularly updates the public on the latest Coronavirus statistics, and the virus has become a part of our conversations with friends, family, and strangers at the grocery store. And yet, the most deadly disease of all receives little of our attention.
The symptoms of this disease are varied and horrifying. They include but are not limited to:
Some people display extremely mild symptoms, which makes it easy to ignore this disease. But if left untreated, everyone affected, no matter how mild their symptoms appear to be, will die.
Every human on earth is infected with this disease. It is passed from the parents to every child ever born, and it has been this way since the birth of the first children on earth.
Many treatment options have been tried, but all fail except for one. The mortality rate of this disease, no matter what treatment is applied, is 100%. But when the one successful treatment is applied, 100% of those who receive it not only live, but they live forever.
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that the disease I’m referring to is sin. We are all infected with it. (1) It causes all manner of death and destruction here on earth, and for those who do not receive the only Cure, it results in eternal death. (2)
Many do not pay any heed to the seriousness of this disease because they do not seem to be affected in such terrible ways as others. They have never been driven to murder, steal, or commit adultery, and so they fail to recognize that even the less obvious symptoms like pride, covetousness, or using God’s name in vain are still sin and still will result in eternal death. (3)
Many try to cure this disease themselves by “turning over a new leaf,” by spending time with others who have been cured and assuming the cure will apply to them too, or by assuming that their symptoms have not been bad enough to warrant death. (4)
But the truth is that there is only one cure for this disease, and that is to be cleansed from its filthiness. Complete cleansing only comes when one is washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. (5)
Everyone who will be washed, will be made clean and will be cured from this disease. (6)
The disease of sin has left death and destruction in its wake all around the world. Even the diseases about which we are currently so concerned are a result of sin’s influence on this earth.
People are rushing to prepare themselves for the possibility of the Coronavirus hitting their area. Where is the rush to prepare for the coming judgment of God?
Courageous doctors and nurses risk their health to care for those infected with deadly diseases around the world. Do we have the same concern for those who are infected with the disease of sin?
As a domestic violence advocate, I see and hear about the horrific effects of sin on a regular basis. I see the cruelty that a sinful heart is willing to inflict upon another human being. I’m all for the law holding accountable anyone who would harm another person in any way. But I also realize that better laws and accountability will not ultimately stop hatred, abuse, assault, and murder. Those things come from the heart, and while a perpetrator may sit behind bars, if his heart is not cleansed from its filthiness he will never change.
The only hope for abusers and their victims is the Gospel. The only hope for thieves and their victims is the Gospel. The only hope for liars and their victims is the Gospel. The only hope for any of us is the Gospel!
Should we acknowledge and prepare for worldwide diseases? Should we take action on behalf of the 6 women who are killed by a partner or family member every single hour? Should we insist that people who would sexually assault another individual be removed from the streets?
Absolutely, yes! But the root of all these terrible things is sin, and the only remedy is Jesus! Through him, murderers, pedophiles, thieves and liars can be cleansed from their filthiness. Through him, people who are moral but can never attain the standard of perfection God requires can be cleansed from their sin. In him, the victims of heinous crimes and abuses can find unconditional, healing love.
So while we speak of diseases, crimes, and abuses and brainstorm solutions to these problems, let us not forget to speak of Jesus. Let us not lose Him in the midst of these important conversations, for He is the most important solution of all.
(1) Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(2) John 3:18-19 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
(3) James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
(4) Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
(5) John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
(6) John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
As our family continues to be blessed with more children, the amount of time I have to myself decreases.
Thankfully, my children sleep really well most of the time, and I can usually get up early and have a few minutes to spend time alone with the Lord while things are still quiet. But there are seasons when that doesn't happen, such as when I have a new baby , when one of the kids is sick, or when I was struggling very badly with chronic fatigue and would sleep until I heard the kids up running around.
During those times it is extremely difficult to find any time to spend time with the Lord reading his word and praying. From the time my feet hit the floor until the time my body finally falls asleep at night, I am busy wiping noses, changing diapers, cleaning up messes, and listening to childish chatter. But, oh how desperately I need the Lord! Most days the first two words I think when I wake up are either “Help, Lord!” or “Lord, help!” I cannot complete this monumental task of nurturing souls, loving my husband, and maintaining a smoothly running household on my own strength. It is HARD!
I'm sure many, many of you are in the same boat, so I want to share some practical ways I have found to spend time learning from God's Word and praying even when it's not possible to get up earlier than everyone else and have your own quiet time.
1. Memorize scripture – Even if I have only a minute or two of quiet time, I get a whole lot more bang for my buck if I spend that time putting scripture to memory rather than just reading it. I can then spend time meditating on God's Word all throughout the day, and I'm not confined to whatever quiet time I may have the chance to enjoy. (See also: 10 Ways to Help Your Child Memorize Scripture – these will work for you too!)
2. Keep scripture around the house – This goes along with #1. I can be thinking on the words of Scripture as I see it throughout my house. I want my mind (and the minds of my family members) to be saturated with God's Word, and all it takes is a little effort to print out verses and post them all around the house. I can remember memorizing several verses as a child just because they were hung in places where I would frequently look. Over time I just simply knew them without even trying. (Find a free printable of Philippians 4:8 right here.)
3. Pray in the shower or while you're getting dressed – these few moments that I get to spend alone are invaluable. I enjoy having a few minutes of quiet to spend in prayer.
4. Read and pray with your children – If my children are already up when I wake up, I don't forgo my time with the Lord. I simply allow my children to join me. That way I can still learn from his Word, and my children can learn as well. They'll also see how important it is to depend on the Lord every day and learn to love God's Word for themselves. (See also: How to Help Young Children Develop Their Own Relationship with God)
5. Meditate on scripture as you fall asleep – One of my favorite times to review the scripture I've memorized is as I'm falling asleep at night. Rather than letting my mind race thinking about all the things I have to do the next day, meditating on Scripture quiets my thoughts and keeps my focus on Christ rather than on my problems.
6. Keep a Bible handy – I keep Bibles scattered throughout the house and in the car. That way whenever I do happen to find a few quiet minutes, I can pick one up wherever I am and read a little bit.
7. Listen to scripture on audio – there are several audio versions of the Bible available. Search apps on your phone for Scripture on audio. You can listen to scripture as you do your work around the house or drive somewhere. We also use these Scripture song CD‘s for our kids to keep scripture going in the house throughout the day.