Monday, March 30, 2015


The death and resurrection of Jesus was the beginning of something new and powerful. Following His resurrection, Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT).

Jesus wants us to live in His power in order to tell others what we’ve witnessed of Him in our lives.  It’s a new beginning, a new way of living for us, and it begins with an encounter with JesusDuring the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3 NLT).  The lives of the Apostles and the followers of Jesus were changed forever after their encounter with the living resurrected Christ.  Their fears were overcome.  Jesus is really alive!  And the miraculous event of His resurrection and encounter with believers caused big changes in their behavior.  Not only did their inner lives change, their outer lives changed too.  Their whole way of living changed.

The first step to a new way of living is to encounter Jesus.  You’ve got to make a connection with Him.  Establish a personal relationship with Him.  Open your heart to Him and let Him forgive you and raise you from spiritual death and give you new life.

An encounter with Jesus gives us the opportunity to become convinced of Who Jesus is and to commit to Him… he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3b NLT).  The disciples became convinced that Jesus was truly alive.  He really did rise from the dead.  They listened to the truth Jesus taught.  They bought in and committed themselves to it.

Jesus is still talking to us today.  How? – through the Bible, God’s Word to us.  Because He is alive, His words are just as living today as they were then.  Now is your opportunity to listen to Jesus, to believe in Him, and to follow Him as your Forgiver and God.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. 1 Cor. 15:33-34

Paul is writing about the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and he says if there’s no resurrection, then what we do with our bodies has no bearing on our future.  Immorality was a way of life for many in Corinth, and some of the believers didn’t take the resurrection seriously in order to rationalize their sin.  Paul quoted the Greek poet Menander, “Bad company corrupts good character.”

The Corinthian Christians were spending a lot of time with people who lived sinful lives.  And they had begun to take on their immoral character and believe in their half-truths about God.  Wrong beliefs lead to wrong actions.  Corrupt company leads to corrupt thinking and living.

Therefore it’s important that we take inventory of the people we spend time with on a regular basis.  Who is influencing who?  The people you spend extra time with on a regular basis will rub off on you.  You will become like them.  Paul doesn’t say that we are to totally disassociate with those who aren’t believers in Christ yet.  Otherwise how are we to bring them to Christ?  He’s saying don’t get your deep friendships from those who aren’t believers.  If you do, you’ll drift away from Christ.

Keep the resurrection of Christ, which is behind you, in view, so that you can keep your resurrection, which is ahead of you, in view.  And then you will live as children of the light, children of the day, awake and alert, and ready for the return of Christ.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Whole truth reveals and kills half-truth.  The whole truth clears away the impurities.  The truth clears up misinformation.  It eliminates the spin.  Why is truth important?  Because we live and die by truth.  Soren Kierkegarrd said, “What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.”

Jesus said, “Anybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God” (John 3:21 Ph).  We need the whole truth to reveal and kill the misinformation in our lives.

In Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth he says, But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead?  For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless (1 Cor. 15:12-14 NLT).

There were those in the church at Corinth who believed there was no resurrection of the dead, but they believed Jesus had risen from the dead.  They believed half the truth, but half the truth distorted the whole truth.  Some believed a person’s soul died with the body.  Others believed that the soul was released from the body when it died.  The ideas that were floating around in those days about life after death, and the different religions and philosophies of what happens to people after death – all had an influence on Christians’ thinking.  The half-truths they believed polluted the whole truth.

People today still buy into half-truths and neglect the whole truth.  People tend to bring with them into their newfound faith in Christ – their presuppositions about God and the afterlife, their ideas from their past, their thoughts and inclinations about Jesus and the Spirit, and God the Father, and Heaven and Hell, and eternity.  And their belief system is polluted.  A lot of extras are mixed in with the truth.  And they have a distorted, unclear view of God and salvation and holy living and the necessity of spiritual maturity and life after death.

Some people don’t believe in a resurrection from the dead or life after death.  They don’t believe in a Heaven or Hell.  They believe there is nothing after you die.  By their presupposition of God and life after death, they don’t accept the reality of God or a resurrection from the dead for life after death.

The issue is not lack of evidence.  The issue is a “willingness” to examine the evidence, to be open-minded enough to look at the facts and let them speak for themselves.  If anyone open-mindedly and sincerely examines the facts of the Resurrection, they cannot refute the truth.
If they don’t believe, it’s because they’re not willing to believe.

A half-truth can completely change everything.  Half-truth clouds the whole truth.  The wrong information can be deadly information.  What’s the whole truth about the resurrection of the dead?  Because Christ rose from the dead, resurrection from the dead for His followers is true.  Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead in a glorified supernatural physical body. 

Because the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the Resurrection of Christ:
There is a resurrection of the dead, there is life after death, there is a heaven and a hell, everything Jesus ever said is of ultimate importance, believers who’ve already passed from this life are alive and with the Lord in Heaven, and we have a future beyond this life.

Because of the Resurrection, life is worth living, Jesus is worth serving, and the Good News is worth sharing.

Monday, March 9, 2015


For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:17).

Think of the difference between a “gift” and a “sentencing.”  When a sentence is handed down, there’s no choice.  That’s what you get.  That’s what you deserve.  That’s who you are – guilty and sentenced.  That’s who we were “in Adam.”  That’s what we inherited.  We inherited the “death sentence.”  But we also inherited the tendency to sin, the old flesh, the sin nature.  So we deserved to be eternally separated from God and punished for our sin.

But when you’re offered a gift there is choice.  You get to reach out and receive that gift.  It’s in the receiving of the gift that things change.  The gift itself doesn’t change your life, but when you “receive” that gift, you become the recipient of whatever that gift “bestows” on you. 

When you’re born into a family, you’re given a name.  That name identifies you.  You’re given a home and that identifies where you live.  You’re given siblings and you look alike.  The material possessions of the family, the inheritance of the family, the reputation of the family – all belong to you and identify you.  Those things are “bestowed” on you and characterize you.

When you receive God’s grace and the gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus, then what is bestowed on you is a “new identity” and all that it includes.  The Bible teaches that your old identity is put to death.   You’re no longer guilty or sentenced.  If you’re dead, you can’t be sentenced anymore.  You can’t be punished.  You can’t be guilty anymore.  You’re dead.

Now you’ve been raised as a new person with a new identity to live a new life.  You now get to live the resurrected life in obedience to Christ as you let Him live through you.  Now you’re redeemed.  The gift you receive is a life-changer.   It’s an identity changer.   It’s future-changer for you.  It changes everything for you and about you.  The gift is the “gift of righteousness.”  When you place your life in the hands of Jesus, and place your belief in Him for your forgiveness and eternal life, God gives you the gift of righteousness.  At that moment you are placed in right standing with God.  You are made righteous in God’s eyes. 

The sentence of judgment has been removed, and now you are forgiven and innocent and holy in God’s eyes and you forever will be, because Jesus died one sacrificial death for all your sin for all time.

Our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. … For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy (Heb. 10:12, 14 NLT). 

Only God makes us acceptable in His eyes.  Only He makes us righteous before Him.   He alone justifies us through Jesus Christ.  No other one, no religion, no code of ethics, no philosophy, no ideology, nothing else makes us righteous enough for eternal life in Heaven, but Jesus.  Only the gift God gives through faith in His Son Jesus qualifies us for Heaven.  He gives His righteousness to us so that we are made righteous in God’s judicial eyes.  It’s what Jesus did right, because we didn’t and couldn’t.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Yet it is in him that God gives a full and complete expression of himself (within the physical limits that he set himself in Christ). Moreover, your own completeness is only realized in him, who is the authority over all authorities, and the supreme power over all powers (Col. 2:9-10 Ph).

If we want to live a complete and whole life, we must live it under God’s authority.  Live it under His management.  Play life according to His rules.  Follow His instructions for living and relating.  Let Him be in control.  Let Him be in the lead.

How does this benefit you?  When you choose to live life under God’s authority, you get moved along the timeline of His purpose.  What does His purpose do in your life?  His purpose completes your life.  We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails (Prov. 19:21 Mes).  If you want a life with purpose that lasts and completes you, you’ve got to get on track with God’s purpose, because His purpose succeeds.

Author, Martin Amis, in his comparison of life to a steam engine train, wrote:  “Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It's passing, yet I'm the one who's doing all the moving. I'm not the station, I'm not the stop: I'm the train. I'm the train.”

You’re on a timeline and you’re going somewhere in the end.  Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God (Eph. 5:16-17 Ph).