The resurrection matters. Here's 5 reasons why...

The resurrection matters.  Here's 5 reasons why...

The resurrection of Christ matters in more ways than we may realize.

If Jesus didn't rise from death, there would be no reason for us to gather together for worship. If Jesus didn't rise from death, there would be no point in worshipping Him or referring to ourselves as His followers. But thankfully, Christ did rise from death, proving His divinity, and giving us a foretaste of what He has in store for all who trust in Him.

The resurrection of Jesus is paramount in its significance for us, and I'd like to take the next few moments to share five of the many reasons why that's so.

Jesus can forgive you, even if you struggle to forgive yourself

Jesus can forgive you, even if you struggle to forgive yourself

Jesus can forgive you, even if you struggle to forgive yourself.

The ways in which Jesus was treated, not only in His crucifixion, but also in the actions that led up to that event, are despicable, yet amazingly, forgivable. There was nothing that happened to Jesus that surprised Him. He knew these things were going to take place, and for the sake of the good He knew would come out of His suffering and death, He willingly endured this disrespect and torment, even for the good of those who directly participated in it.

How will the deepest longings of your heart be satisfied?

How will the deepest longings of your heart be satisfied?

There are people you know, right now, who are downcast and discouraged. And if you could look into their hearts, there are certain commonalities I think you would see. You would find unmet expectations, disappointment with current circumstances, unfulfilled dreams, and in all likelihood, some misplaced hope. Their hearts are longing for something they feel is missing, and it's possible that they're searching for those longings to be fulfilled through people, means, goals, and opportunities that don't have the capacity to do so.

This has been a struggle for humanity ever since our earliest days. We are quick to forget what can actually satisfy the longing of our hearts, so we veer off in all kinds of directions instead of acknowledging the truth that has always been right there in front of us. And until we acknowledge this truth, we'll continue to walk through life with a hefty amount of discouragement and displeasure. In John 12:12-26, we're shown how the deepest longings of our hearts can truly be satisfied.

Three ways you might be able to tell if someone actually believes in Jesus

Three ways you might be able to tell if someone actually believes in Jesus

When you take a close look at your heart, can you truly say you're someone who has a strong relationship with Jesus, or would you primarily describe yourself as someone who has been influenced by Christians without necessarily adopting their beliefs as your own?

When a person truly comes to faith in Christ, things change. Spiritually speaking, they are raised from death to life, and that new life tends to come with some obvious and visible signs. In Romans 12:9-21, the Apostle Paul describes at least three ways we might be able to tell someone has actually come to a place of genuine faith in Jesus.

Is it wise to use social media to post about your political beliefs?

Is it wise to use social media to post about your political beliefs?

I enjoy using Facebook. I check it several times each day, and I'm convinced that it can be a useful platform for spreading information, sharing life experiences, and encouraging our friends and family. But increasingly, I'm noticing a trend that I think can be improved upon. It seems that some of the people I appreciate in real life are using the biggest communication platform they've ever been entrusted with, primarily to vent about their political beliefs.

Good government and political leadership are important, but there's more to life than presidents, candidates, treaties, policies and elections.

How to make the most of the time you have left

How to make the most of the time you have left

How are you using your time? Are you using it to rest, or are engaged in activity?

There's a time to rest, and a time to engage in activity. But in the end, it's wise for us to make an honest assessment of how we're using the days, weeks, months, and years of life the Lord has blessed us with.  The years will be used up faster than we often realize, so are we making the best use of the time we have left? The Apostle Paul gives us great counsel in Romans 12:1-8 that can help us answer that question.

Are we responding to God's favor with humility?

Are we responding to God's favor with humility?

Isn't it ironic when we consider the fact that the more we're blessed, the more likely it may be that we'll begin acting like we actually deserved that blessing? Instead of treating our blessings like a gift, and responding with humility, we often puff ourselves up and begin thinking of ourselves as more worthy than others to receive them.

We don't deserve what God has given us. We actually deserve the opposite. So as we contemplate the gracious ways God has blessed our lives, we're encouraged to respond to His favor with humility. Look at how Paul elaborates on this in Romans 11:17-36...

Not everyone will believe, but some will

Not everyone will believe, but some will

Have you ever felt somewhat alone as you lived out your faith? Does it ever feel like you're part of a small subset of people who actually trust in Jesus and seek to be obedient to His teaching? If you feel that way, you're not the first one to experience these emotions. This feeling is somewhat common, and many of us will experience seasons when this feels all too real.

But the truth of the matter is that God's plan is much bigger in scope than we often realize. We can see the small part of the parade that's directly in front of us, but from His perspective, He can see the beginning, middle, and end all at the same time. And while there are plenty of people who will never come to faith in Christ, there are some who will. In fact, there are more who will trust in Jesus than we may initially realize, and that's a subject Paul addresses in Romans 11:1-6.

Why we take the risk to share our faith

Why we take the risk to share our faith

Have you ever wanted to tell someone about the hope they can have in Jesus, but you've shied away from doing so because you feared receiving a negative response from them? Have you ever worried if others will think you're weird, crazy, or fanatical?

Aligning the desires of your heart with God's heart

Aligning the desires of your heart with God's heart

There are things we all crave in life, but our hearts were designed to only be truly satisfied through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Every other desire we experience is secondary in importance, yet sometimes, we treat our secondary desires like they're primary desires.

God has desires as well, and we can see what He desires by what He reveals in His word, and through the actions He has taken to intervene throughout the course of human history. Since God has desires and we have desires, it's worth asking the question, "What would it look like if my desires started to align with God's desires?"

Will God accept me even if I'm not that good?

Will God accept me even if I'm not that good?

We all want to be accepted, but there are very few relationships we may ever experience that show us unconditional acceptance. That isn't how people typically operate. I learned very early in life that many people in this world accept you right up to the point when you stop giving them something or stop doing something for them.

But thankfully, that's not how the acceptance of God works. His acceptance of you and me is not linked to what we can give Him or do for Him. Rather, His acceptance of us is forever tied to what He did on our behalf, and what He gave us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The difference it makes to know that you're loved

The difference it makes to know that you're loved

One of the messages that God goes to great lengths to communicate is that He loves His children. Regardless of what your past history or present day struggles might look like, this is a truth that He wants you to understand and embrace. Knowing you're loved makes a big difference in your life. It impacts your perspective toward your circumstances, your relationships, and your eventual future. It also impacts the way you relate to God Himself. Romans 8:31-39 demonstrates the depth of God's love for His children with the goal of thoroughly convincing our hearts of this truth.

We may groan now, but we won't groan forever

We may groan now, but we won't groan forever

There's a form of groaning that we're all doing right now that might feel uncomfortable or exhausting at times. It's a groaning that shows that we're longing for something better than what we've already experienced. And we're not the only ones who are groaning. The entire creation groans along with us, waiting for restoration. The good news is that while we may be groaning now, we won't groan forever. God has good things in store for us and Romans 8:18-30 speaks about that greater glory that He has in store for those who trust Him.

Don't fall back into fear

Don't fall back into fear

Unhealthy fear isn’t something you want to welcome into your life. At times, it takes the form of insecurity and willful ignorance. Unhealthy fear exists when we believe circumstances are out of control and we're reasonably certain there's a good chance things won't be working out in our favor. Maybe you're afraid of someone who has the capacity to harm you. Or maybe you fear experiencing circumstances that resemble painful events from your past. Maybe you're living in fear right now because you aren't confident about what's in store for your future. But fear can be overcome. Here’s how.

A snapshot of your new, Spirit-led, life

A snapshot of your new, Spirit-led, life

The longer we walk with Jesus, the less we resemble the person we once were. The longer we walk with Him, the more distant we start to feel from the life we once lived. In Christ, we have been blessed with a brand-new life, and there are aspects of this new life that we are invited to gain a better understand of through looking at His word.

Romans 8:1-11 gives us a snapshot of the new life we have in Christ. It's a life that isn't being led by the priorities of this world or passions of our old nature. Our new life is a life that's being led by the Holy Spirit.

Why do I do what I don't want to do?

Why do I do what I don't want to do?

Have you ever made a regretful decision or tried to live your life outside of God's will, only to look back at what took place with confusion about what you were thinking when you made those choices? I certainly have, and I suspect we all have. Even though we know Christ, we can still make very poor decisions, particularly if we're treating the tempting influence of sin too casually. Why do we do what we don't want to do?

5 reasons I'm glad people bring their babies to church

5 reasons I'm glad people bring their babies to church

When parents have babies, they’re often worried about bringing them to church. They wonder if people will be disturbed if they cry. They also know it can be quite difficult to get a child ready in the morning in time to get to a worship service on time. It takes an extra dose of patience and effort to pull it off successfully.

It is a relief to belong to Christ

It is a relief to belong to Christ

We belong to someone who loves us. Before we came to know Christ, we were unhealthy, without hope, convinced we needed to fend for ourselves, and resigned to the fate of an outcast. But now, Christ has redeemed us. He has cleansed us from our sin and given us new life. He has also given us His name and a permanent place in His family. In Christ, we are shown that we belong, and we are relieved from our attempts to survive on our own. Romans 7:1-6 explains additional details of the benefits we are blessed with as those who belong to Christ.