Has God Really Forgiven Me for the Mistakes I’ve Made?

forgive

What if I told you that ALL of your failures – everything you ever have done, or will do wrong – have already been forgiven by God!?! It’s true! When Jesus gave His life for you at the cross, He bore the penalty for every sin you’d commit over the course of your entire life. He paid the price for your complete forgiveness. Because of what He has done, God can and has forgiven your every mistake. Your part? To simply believe that you have been forgiven, and receive that forgiveness!

God’s grace is greater than any mistake you’ll ever make! He has promised to never be angry with or rebuke you (Is 54:9). He isn’t counting your sins against you (2 Cor 5:19), and in fact no longer even remembers them (Heb 8:12)! He has removed them from you as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12). If He isn’t holding your mistakes against you, why should you hold them against yourself?

Jesus lived the perfect life you could never live. If you have accepted Him as Savior, then when God looks at you, He sees Jesus’ perfection covering you, instead of your failures. Begin to see yourself the way God sees you!

Don’t let guilt, shame, and regret hold you back from living the amazing, abundant life God has for you. Whenever you mess up, remind yourself that God indeed has forgiven you because of what Christ has done. Accept the forgiveness He is holding out to you, and carry on with all He has in store for you!

How the Holy Spirit Convicts

How the Holy Spirit Convicts
One of the things that the Holy Spirit does is to convict. What do you think He convicts us of? All the things we are doing that are wrong? All the mistakes that we make?

John 16:8 tells us what the Holy Spirit convicts of. It says that He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. John 16:9-11 explains further just what this means. These verses paint a very different picture of the Holy Spirit’s role of convicting than we sometimes imagine!

John 16:9 says that He convicts the world of sin because they don’t believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicting of sin doesn’t mean that He points out to us every sin we ever commit. Rather, it means that He convicts those who haven’t accepted Christ of the one sin that will keep them from spending eternity with Him – the sin of not believing in Him.

John 16:10 says that Holy Spirit convicts of righteousness, because Jesus was going to the Father, and therefore we would no longer see Him. Under the new covenant of God’s grace that Christ came to establish, how do we become righteous? Not by always doing the right thing and never messing up, but rather through faith in Jesus (Rom 3:22)! When Jesus returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to be our Helper (Jn 14:16). Today, Christ is at the Father’s right hand, representing us, and our Helper, the Holy Spirit, convicts of the fact that in Him, we have been made righteous (2 Cor 5:21)!

John 16:11 says that the Holy Spirit convicts of judgment, because the ruler of the world has been judged. Our Savior has disarmed principalities and powers. He triumphed over them at the cross (Col 2:15). In other words, the devil is a defeated foe, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of that!

This is how the Holy Spirit convicts! He points people towards faith in Christ, He helps us to understand that we have been made righteous, and He reminds us that the enemy has been defeated! How wonderful God is to have sent us such a Helper!

The Gifts of the Spirit

The Gifts of the Spirit
Once we’ve received baptism in the Holy Spirit, there are certain gifts God has for us that He wants us to operate in. These gifts of the Spirit enable us to know and do things we couldn’t have on our own. They can both benefit us personally, and help us to minister to others in a greater way.

The gifts of the Spirit are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.

  1.  Message of wisdom
  2. Message of knowledge
  3. Faith
  4. Gifts of healing
  5. Working of miracles
  6. Prophecy
  7. Discerning of spirits
  8. Speaking in different kinds of tongues
  9. Interpretation of tongues

Message of wisdom, message of knowledge, and prophecy all have to do with God speaking to you, and/or revealing things to you that you wouldn’t know otherwise. Gifts of healing and working of miracles have to do with God flowing through you in a special way to perform miracles and instances of healing. Speaking in different kinds of tongues is different than just praying in tongues. Usually, it’s a specific message God gives you in tongues, which He will then give either you or someone else the explanation of. This explanation of what is spoken in tongues being given to you is interpretation of tongues.

These gifts are for us today, and God wants us to operate in them! Do as 1 Corinthians 14:1 says, and eagerly desire these gifts. Make yourself available to God to be used by Him, and you will begin to experience these gifts at work in your life as you are in need of them!

Speaking in Tongues

speak in tongues

When the believers in Acts 2 were baptized in the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in tongues. In numerous other places throughout Acts and the rest of the New Testament, God’s Word talks about speaking in tongues. It is something that God desires for all of His children to experience today, and willingly gives to all of them who will accept it.

Acts 2:4 says that the believers began speaking in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. In other words, when we speak in tongues, we’re simply speaking out words that the Holy Spirit gives us. Even though we won’t recognize or understand what we’re saying, it’s from Him. Our job is to just open our mouths and speak out the words He’s giving us.

Speaking in tongues comes along with baptism in the Holy Spirit, and is important in our lives as believers. When we pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit can pray through us about things we don’t even know to pray about, or pray exactly what needs to be said about situations we aren’t sure how to pray for. Praying in tongues can help us to connect with God in a way that aids us in hearing what He has to say to us. These are just some of the reasons why praying in tongues is important for us as followers of Christ.

Speaking in tongues is something God makes available to all believers. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, then it’s for you! Are you open to this gift that God wants to give you?

What Is Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

What Is

Earlier this month, we celebrated Easter – Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Before He went back to heaven, Jesus told His disciples to wait for God’s promised gift – in a few days, they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). In Acts 2, we see this promise fulfilled. While they were gathered together on the day of Pentecost (a Jewish holiday), a violent wind seemed to fill the room they were in. What appeared to be tongues of fire came and rested above each of them, and they began to speak in other tongues! This was the first time believers experienced baptism in the Holy Spirit.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of us. When we receive baptism in the Holy Spirit, it’s like what’s inside of us comes out and manifests in ways such as speaking in tongues (as happened to the early believers mentioned in Acts 2) and other gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:8-11).

Acts 1:8 says that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we receive power. Through His Spirit living inside of us, God is able to show us things we couldn’t know on our own, and enable us to do things we couldn’t do by ourselves. Look at the example of Peter. While Jesus was being put on trial and condemned to death, Peter denied Him three times. After being baptized in the Holy Spirit, Peter had the courage to speak boldly for Christ, and explain what was going on to the people who witnessed the believers speaking in tongues. Baptism in the Holy Spirit had an impact on Peter, and it has an impact on us as well!

Those who were staying in Jerusalem for Pentecost when this all took place  heard the wonders of God proclaimed in their own language through the believers speaking in tongues. This demonstrates how baptism in the Holy Spirit can enable us to minister to others more effectively.

Do you want to experience baptism in the Holy Spirit? Just like salvation, it becomes ours by simply believing, and receiving it from God. Ask Him, and He will give it to you, for He promises to give it to those who ask (Luke 11:13)!

What God Has to Say About Our Financial Success

Financial Success

Earlier, we discussed whether or not it’s ok for Christians to prosper financially. We talked about how it’s the love of money, not money itself, that is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10), and how it’s not so much about how much we have, but whether or not it has us. Now, let’s look at what God’s Word has to say about our financial success.

  • Proverbs 10:22 – His blessing brings wealth, and adds no sorrow with it.
  • Isaiah 60:5 – To you shall come the wealth of nations!
  • Philippians 4:19 – He will supply all your needs.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:11 – He will enrich you in every way so that on all occasions, you can be generous.
  • Psalm 1:2-3 – Those who meditate on and delight in God’s Word shall prosper in all they do.
  • Isaiah 61:6 – On the wealth of nations you will feed, and you will boast in their riches.
  • Deuteronomy 30:9 – He will make you prosperous in the work of your hands – He will delight in you, and make you prosperous. (This was a blessing given for obedience. We can never obey perfectly, but Jesus lived the perfect life for us. Because we are in Him, His perfection covers us, and we have access to this blessing!)

This is what God’s Word promises regarding your finances! Trust in His promises. Take Him at His Word, and see what He will accomplish in your life financially!

Is It Ok for Christians to Prosper Financially?

prosper

Has anyone ever made it sound like Christians shouldn’t experience abundance in the realm of finance? Have you ever wondered if it’s ok to be successful financially as a Christian, or how much God’s ok with you having? Have you ever wondered where we, as followers of Christ, should draw the line?

Some say that money is the root of all evil – that it is the cause of tons of problems, such as greed and self-centeredness – and because of this, Christians should be careful of ever having too much – almost as if poverty is better than wealth.

The truth of the matter? Money is not the root of all evil. By itself, it isn’t good or bad, and therefore the amount of money you have isn’t what makes you a good or bad person. It only reveals who you really are. If a person is already generous, give them more money, and it will give them a greater opportunity to benefit others as well as themselves. If a person is selfish and stingy and you give them more money, their stinginess and selfishness will become more apparent as they hoard or spend it all on themselves. The money didn’t make them selfish and stingy or kind and generous. It just made their real character more visible.

What the Bible says actually is the root of all evil is the LOVE of money (1 Tim 6:10)! This is what causes problems, not the money itself. In other words, do you control your money, or do you let it control you? This is what God cares about!

The truth is, God WANTS to bless His children, and this includes financially. According to Psalm 35:27, He takes pleasure in the prosperity of His people! God wants to give His children not only all that they need, but above and beyond so that they, in turn, can bless others (2 Cor 9:11). The more you grow in your relationship with Christ, and the more you become like Him, the more you will use your money in a wise manner, and to advance His kingdom. Trust God with your finances from an early age, and watch what He can do in and through them!

Believe God for Miracles!

DYB_540x300banner

Recently, the movie Do You Believe? came out in theaters, featuring the Newsboy’s hit song “We Believe.” One of my favorite scenes was where Joe is in the hospital and flatlines, only to come back to life, totally healed and restored, just a short time later. This miracle really impacts his nurse, prompting her to devote her life more fully to God. It gives her confidence that God really can do anything – even work in the situation of an unfair law suit her husband is facing. It also deeply impacts Lily’s mother, who had been with Joe both when he died, and when he came back to life.

That whole situation in the movie really caused me to think about what would happen if we would dare to ask God for the things that seem impossible to us, believing that He would grant our requests. God desires for miracles coming to pass to be more than just an inspiring scene in a movie. He wants to do that kind of thing in real life, but He needs someone to be willing to step out and ask Him in faith.

In the Bible, Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead, and so much more. People flocked to Jesus because of the miracles He performed. Guess what?!? God never changes! It is still His desire to do these kinds of things today, THROUGH YOU! Jesus says in John 14:12 that the same works He did, you also shall do also. Imagine how many people would be impacted for God if they saw His miracle-working power operating in your life, and flowing through you to touch others!

Mark 11:24 says that if we believe, we will receive WHATEVER we ask for in prayer! Mark 19:26 says that with God, ALL things are possible. Know that there is no situation to big for God to handle. No matter how desperate things may seem, He is willing and able to help. Don’t be afraid to trust Him for big things. Make your request in confidence, knowing that you will see what you’ve asked for come to pass, because of God’s love for you!

NBC Aires A.D. The Bible Continues, Follow Up to The Bible Series

AD_300x250_pre

NBC is airing a mini series called A.D. The Bible Continues. Picking up where The Bible left off, this new 12 episode series focuses on the events that took place following Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The first episode, which premiered on April 5 (Easter day!), covers Jesus’ crucifixion, and the confusion felt by many over the events surrounding His death. Episode 1 also covers the time between when He died and when He rose again, winding things up with an angel rolling away the stone from the tomb. It hits the main highlights, as well as a number of the details, of what Scripture says took place.  In addition, it gives us a glimpse as to what might have been going through the heads of some of those who played a part in the story.

There is some use of poetic license to add drama and build suspense (for example, some of the scenes and dialogue didn’t come directly from the Bible, though they were centered around the story line set forth in God’s Word). However, the first episode of A.D. The Bible Continues presents the story of the cross quite accurately, in a way that engages without detracting from the main message – what our Savior did for us.

It’s exciting to see Bible stories coming to life on public tv! This world DESPERATELY NEEDS the message of the gospel, and television can and should be able to provide another avenue for them to receive it. In the midst of all of the tv shows and movies to be found that are filled with bad language and negative content that send the wrong message, it’s really cool to see a series that draws attention to God’s Word!

Have you seen the first episode of A.D. The Bible Continues? Do you plan to tune in and watch the rest of the series?

Relentless Love

relentless love c c

Even though Easter’s over, the message of what Christ has done for us applies to and affects our daily lives! Check out this poem about our Savior’s work at the cross.

Relentless Love

The Son of God stood in man’s place,
Silently suffering human disgrace.
Falsely accused and condemned by self righteousness’ spite,
He was the One who would save us from sin’s merited plight.
The crown they presented the King consisted of thorns.
Wholly undeserved were the stripes which for our sake He bore.
Abused and tortured, nails pierced through
His hands and feet to make all things new,
For He esteemed nothing too great of a price
To rescue the perishing, to give them life.

The Son of God nailed to the tree –
God’s grace displayed for all to see.
Man’s sin weighed upon Him, yet they stood and scoffed
As He gave up His life for them there on that cross.
Criminals hung both left and right,
People taunting at the sight.
Despised and scorned, rejected, betrayed –
All part of the price He paid.
He bought back man at a high cost.
He gave His life to ransom the lost.

The Son of God knew the time had come
To lay down His life as a gift of love.
Darkness clouded over the sky.
“It is finished!” came the Savior’s cry.
He breathed His last, head bowed low.
The veil was torn so all would know
That there was nothing to stand between them and God any longer.
At the cross, His relentless love for us proved itself stronger
Than any sin we commit, than any wrong that we’ve done.
To save and redeem us, God sent His own Son.