“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
As the Lord concluded His final words to His disciples before leaving for Heaven, He spoke of trouble to come. However, He told them where they could find peace no matter what they would face ahead.
Christ’s disciples would endure persecution and all but one of them would suffer martyrdom. My prayer is that those I know and love, nor I, will ever experience prison, torture, beatings or death because of our faith. Even so, living in a world that is growing increasingly hostile toward Christians, I suppose these are real possibilities.
What Jesus told His disciples applies easily to those of us living today. We will all have to deal with trouble in this world on some level.
So, where do we find peace in spite of any affiliation that might come upon us? Well, Jesus said that we find peace in Him.
Therefore, it is important that we nurture our relationship with Christ by denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Him.
We can do this through prayer, spending time studying God’s Word and worship.
We can also draw closer to Him by living like Him—loving God with all our heart soul mind and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
If you are feeling overwhelmed while living in these days of trouble, allow Jesus to provide you with the peace you need. Just as He calmed the raging sea with a strong command (Mark 4:35-41), Jesus can speak peace to your situation. Rest in Him!
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Isaiah 26:2; Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7
“There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). NLT
Have you ever considered someone a friend who later proved not to be? Maybe you experienced the loss of a loved one, but the person you thought was your friend was not there to comfort you. Perhaps when you were low, he or she was not there to lift you up. It could be that you even failed morally, and when you needed a friend the most, the person you thought was your friend walked away from you.
As long as things were good, you could count on the fact that your so-called friend would be by your side to help you celebrate. But, when hard times came, he or she was nowhere to be found. Such people are called “fair weather friends.” As long as the sun is shining in your life, you can count on them to be there. However, when skies over you turn gray, they turn and run.
Thus far, the darkest days I have ever experienced were those that followed the deaths of my parents who passed away within one month and three days of each other. I’d like to say that I was a super Christian who pushed all grief aside and kept right on going, but that was not the case. As an only child, I was devastated. The immediate family I had known and loved growing up was gone and grief overwhelmed me for years.
It is in times like the one I just described when you find out who your true friends are. They are the ones who pause to take the time to share in your sorrow, who go out of their way to check on you, who pray for you, who encourage you and who are available to listen to you when you need to express how you are feeling. They sympathize with you. In short, they are there for you!
It is shocking and hurtful when we discover that a person we thought loved and cared for us really doesn’t. But how grateful we are for those who journey with us during our times of struggle. We will never forget them or their acts of kindness.
Thankfully, there is one friend we can always depend on, and His name is Jesus. To His friends, Jesus gave the wonderful promise, “...I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). NKJV
We never have to wonder whether Jesus is a true friend or a fair weather friend. He has proven that He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. He came to show us how to live abundantly (John 10:10). He died for us on the cross to pay our sin-debt to the Father (John 3:16). He rose from the grave, overcoming death, so that we might live eternally (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). He prayed for the Father to send the Holy Spirit to comfort us as we live our earthly lives (John 15:16). Finally, He has gone to prepare a place for us so that He can someday return to receive us unto Himself so that where He is, there we may be also (John 14:1-6).
You can’t do anything about fair weather friends except make sure that you are not one. Be like Jesus. When your friends need you, show them how much they mean to you. Be there for them!
And, although a person who you thought was your friend has forsaken you, remember that Jesus never will!
Read John 15:12-14; Job 6:14; Proverbs 27:17
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). NKJV
Perhaps at no other time are more lies told than during an election season. I have read memes on Facebook and watched campaign commercials on television where one candidate’s supporters or the candidate himself or herself told outright lies about another candidate’s positions on issues. It’s not just the left or the right. Both sides are guilty.
To bear false witness against a neighbor means to lie about them. Most of the time, people bear false witness to make themselves look good and make others look bad. Doing so can spring from a root of bitterness, from unresolved hurt, from unforgiveness, from jealousy or from a number of other sins. The Hebrew word translated “neighbor” in Exodus 20:16 can mean an associate, a brother, companion, friend, spouse or neighbor.
People bear false witness in a court of law. Others bear false witness in private by whispering, talebearing, backbiting, slandering or attempting to destroy another’s character by innuendos, sly insinuations and evil suggestions.
Doing such things should not occur, especially for followers of God. God’s children are to reflect the character of God. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” NKJV
Never does one act more like the devil than when he or she is lying about someone else. Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” NKJV
Remember, Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” NKJV
Running others down to build yourself up is something God despises. Will you reflect the character of God by always telling the truth lovingly, or will you imitate the father of lies, the devil himself?
Read Matthew 15:18-19; Colossians 3:7-8; Ephesians 4:29
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). NIV
Everything in life is not always going to turn out as you had planned. How you respond to unpleasant or unexpected things that happen along the way can make all the difference in your life as well as the lives of others.
I’m talking about “attitude.”
A few days ago, I drove for an hour to speak at a meeting. When I arrived at my destination, no one was there. I quickly called a man to ask if I had made a mistake. Had I gotten the date wrong? Was I mistaken about where the meeting was taking place?
Apologetically, the man informed me that the meeting had been canceled and that no one had thought to call and let me know.
At that point, I had a decision to make; how would I react? Would I become frustrated and angry? Would I be kind? The choice was mine.
Suddenly, I looked up into the sky and was reminded that I had just spent the last hour driving in the sunshine, enjoying the beautiful day God had made. I decided right then and there to make the most of it. I told the man that the mix up was no problem, that I was happy, and not to worry about it. After all, I should have called ahead to make sure that the meeting was still taking place, especially in this season when a pandemic has changed so much of what we do and how we do it. I pulled over at a restaurant, ate lunch, then went on about my day.
I could have ruined my entire day had I made a different choice. The wrong decision could have gotten me in a bad mood and caused me to become irritable. It all hinged on my attitude.
When the apostle Paul wrote the words he recorded in Philippians 1:27, he was sitting in a Roman prison. He did not know if he would live or be put to death. And the people in the church at Philippi. who dearly loved him, did not know if they would ever see him again.
So, Paul wrote in effect, “Whatever happens, react in a way that will show others who you belong to.”
As I write these words, a lot is happening in our world. You could lose your job. You might lose your home.
The election, only days away, might not turn out the way you want.
You might experience something as minor as a flat tire, coffee spilled down your shirt first thing in the morning, or receive on the receiving end of a coworker’s snarky comment.
How will you react?
Will you get mad and conduct yourself in a manner that doesn’t resemble Christ in any way, or will you determine now, whatever happens, I’m going to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of my Lord?
The choice is yours. Your actions will be determined by your attitude.
Read Philippians 2:14-15, 4:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We Americans love our rights. After all, in The Bill of Rights, we are guaranteed the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to keep and bear arms and more. We think, how dare anyone attempt to infringe upon my rights?
Indeed, while we are provided rights by the United States Constitution, when it comes to our rights, the real question we should ask ourselves is, “Do I have the biblical right to do something?” In other Words, “Does God, in His Word, tell me I can do a certain thing?” The fact is, regardless of what a human government’s constitution says or what it’s laws are, what God’s Word says takes precedence.
Such a question should definitely be asked by a woman who is considering an abortion. Does the Bible give a woman the right to terminate the life of another human being growing inside her?
It is true that the word “abortion” is never used in the Bible. But, God’s Word has plenty to say about life and the fact that He is the Creator of it.
For example, Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For You [God] formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” NKJV
God also told the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” NKJV
If God is the Creator of life, and He is, who are we to take the life of another, even the life of the unborn God Himself has formed in the womb?
Abortion has been defined as “the deliberate termination of a human life while it is still in the womb.”
Political activists have always attempted to insist that at the very least there should be exceptions for abortion. However, according to scripture, there are none. When it comes down to it, a woman should not have an abortion because it is the murder of an innocent human being. And of course, we are commanded in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill (murder).” KJV
Those who willingly participate in an abortion will answer to the Creator of the life they abort.
The good news is that if you have had an abortion or participated in an abortion in any way, you can be forgiven. Abortion is not the unpardonable sin.
1 John 1:9 is clear, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Here’s the thing, everyone of us has sinned. Romans 3:23 says, “...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
No matter what you have done, you can come to Jesus today, confess you’re sin and receive forgiveness (John 3:16-18; Romans 6:23).
Read Isaiah 53:5-6; Acts 13:38-39; 1 John 1:22
Why are there so many different religions? Do all of them lead to God?
Romans 1:19-21 gives us some insight into why other religions besides Christianity have been established. There, the apostle Paul wrote, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they obecame futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” NKJV
Simply put, the existence of so many different religions is proof of humanity’s rejection of the one true God. There are some people who do not want to believe in God because He demands that they live holy lives. Others cannot accept the fact that eternal salvation is a free gift. Then there are those who refuse to submit to another’s authority and want to live life their way. For these reasons and more, people have invented their own religions.
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias wrote in his book, Jesus Among Other Gods, “The desire to recreate God in our own image comes from the sin nature within us—a nature that will eventually ‘reap destruction’” (Galatians 6:7-8). NKJV
So, do all religions eventually lead to God and eternal life? Absolutely not! Such a belief is known as universalism—the belief that if one does his best to be good, follows the rules, observes sacraments and/or participates in rituals, then he will end up in Heaven. Furthermore, such a belief denies that there are no moral absolutes. One who believes that there are moral absolutes knows that only one faith can be right.
The difference between the founders of other religions and the God of the Bible is that the others are dead, but Jesus is risen (Luke 24:1-53; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58; 1 Peter 1:3).
Am I saying that anyone who rejects Jesus will be eternally separated from God? Well, what I say matters very little. It is what God says in His Word that really matters. So what does He say?
1. In 1 John 5:12, God’s Word says, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
2. Jesus says in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
3. Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Here’s the deal: Either Jesus is a liar, a lunatic or Lord. Because of the insurmountable proof available, as well as what He has done in my own life, I am certain, beyond the shout of a doubt, that Jesus is Lord!
Do you know Him as your Lord and Savior? If not, reach out to me today and I will share with you how you can enter into a personal, saving relationship with Him.
Read Matthew 7:14; Matthew 28:13; Luke 6:46; John 13:13; Acts 2:36; Romans 10:9; Revelation 17:14
You have heard it said, “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” Today, the problem is some believers, in an attempt not to appear judgmental, go overboard by accepting the sin of those they love. Such a thing is unbiblical and is not displaying love at all.
You see, God’s Word tells us that sin leads to death (James 1:15). So, to love someone in sin by accepting their sinful lifestyle is not showing love. Who among us really wants to see his or her loved one live a life of sin and then spend eternity in Hell?
Jude 22-23 says, “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (NKJV)
If we really love those who are sinning, we should show them our love by refusing to condone, ignore or excuse what they are doing. We must warn them that what they are doing will destroy them.
James 5:20 says, “...you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.”
Think about it! God loved us so much that when seeing us in sin, He gave Christ to show us that there is a better way to live (John 10:10), and to die on the cross to deliver us from the bondage of sin (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-10).
If God did what He could to rescue us from sin, shouldn’t we do the same for others?
Read Proverbs 27:5; Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 4:2
When some people think of God, they picture in their minds a grandfatherly figure with a long white beard ruling the universe from the sky.. They believe that because He is loving, He approves the lifestyles of everyone and would never punish anyone. Others imagine God as an angry figure who is ready to pounce on them with a lightning rod the moment they break a rule. Both views of God are wrong.
The Bible, God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word, shows us God in a much different light. God’s Word teaches us the following about God:
1. He is spirit (John 4:24) and nothing we could ever create, be it an image or a figure of our imagination, could ever properly represent Him.
2. God never changes (Malachi 3:6). Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus, God the Son, is “the same yesterday and today and forever.”
3. God knows everything (1 John 3:20).
4. He is everywhere and is not confined by time (Psalm 139:7-13; Isaiah 57:15).
5. He is holy—perfect and separated from sin (Isaiah 6:3).
6. He is just (Deuteronomy 32:5). Because He is just, He must and will judge all sin and unrighteousness (Jude 1:15; Revelation 20:11-13).
7. He is gracious. He gives us unmerited favor and offers us eternal life (Romans 5:17; Ephesians 2:8-9).
8. He is merciful. He withholds from us what we rightfully deserve—eternal punishment and separation from Him (Isaiah 55:7; 1 Timothy 1:16).
9. He is sovereign, that is, He is in control of all things. Nothing happens unless He causes or allows it to happen, even the things we don’t understand. Because He is the Sovereign of the Universe, He is under no obligation to tell us why anything happens. We are to simply trust and obey Him, remembering that He has a plan. He sees the big picture where as we only see the tiny brushstroke on the canvas.
10. He is one God in three persons—the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
As Rich Mullins sang in his song, “Our God is an awesome God.”
Do you know God? Have you entered into a personal relationship with Him? If not, contact me today. I’d be glad to better introduce you to Him.
Read 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Samuel 7:22; Revelation 19:6
Have you ever been falsely accused? If you have, then you know how terribly troubling and hurtful it can be.
For example, there are those who excuse and even enjoy their sin. When confronted about their sin by a believer in Christ, those who take pleasure in their sin might falsely accuse the believer of being judgmental, hypocritical or even hateful. What they fail to realize is that the believer has an obligation from God’s Word to be a preserving influence in this world of that which is holy, as well as an obligation to show others the way out of the darkness of their sin.
Today, the world has grown increasingly hostile toward Christians and the truth for which we stand. When we are falsely accused, we should remember that we are in good company.
In the Garden of Eden, the serpent falsely accused God, Himself (Genesis 3:1-24). Then, there was Potiphar’s wife, who falsely accused Joseph (Genesis 39:1-20). Of course, Jesus was accused of being a glutton and drunk (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34), and even accused of casting out demons in the name of the ruler of demons (Matthew 12:22-32).
So what are we to do when we know we have been falsely accused? How are we to react?
Instead of following our natural inclination to get mad and retaliate, we should follow the great example the psalmist set for us in Psalm 4. There, he shows us that we are to do the following;
1. Cry out to the Lord. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 4:3, “The Lord will hear when I call to Him.” (NKJV) God cares for us and will comfort us when we have been falsely accused.
2. Be angry, but refrain from sinning (verse 4). Anger is a real emotion that rises inside of us when we are falsely accused. It is righteous indignation. The challenge for us is to feel that anger but keep from sinning in response to it. We can only do so when we are under the control of the Holy Spirit.
3. Meditate (verse 4). It is important that we get alone with God, sit quietly and allow Him to direct our thoughts and actions. We should ask for wisdom in terms of what to do. He will always guide us to do the right thing.
4. Allow God to take care of those who falsely accuse you. There is a payday in the future for all false accusers. The psalmist recorded in Psalm 5:5-6, “Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies.” (NLT) And the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:19, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (NKJV)
Being falsely accused comes with the territory when we live for Jesus. The truth is, as Christians, we have to develop a thick skin and remember that “...we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).” (NKJV) Those who falsely accuse us are simply tools being used in the hands of Satan, under his influence, to attack us with his fiery arrows. He is our real enemy.
So, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18) and remember what Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (NKJV)
Read Isaiah 54:17; 1 Peter 3:16; Revelation 12:10
You have probably heard the question asked, “If you saw a blind man walking toward the edge of a cliff wouldn’t you stop him?” Hopefully, if I were to ask you that question, your answer would be an emphatic, “Yes!”
However, there are spiritually blind men and women, boys and girls walking toward destruction and some who know Jesus are doing absolutely nothing to help them. We fear that we might come across as judgmental, we are afraid that we might offend them, we think they might become defensive or we simply don’t care as we should.
The worst thing that could ever happen to a person is for him or her to spend eternity separated from God in Hell. Still, the majority of all who are alive today will do just that—spend eternity separated from God in Hell.
Oh, don’t take my word for it! Jesus said it Himself in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (NKJV)
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are being a friend by not warning a lost sinner to turn around and come to Jesus. Failing to help a person see that he or she is headed for destruction is failing to love that person as the Lord has instructed you.
Hell is real! The punishment of those who reject Jesus as their personal Savior is spoken of throughout Scripture (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 3:12, 25:41; Mark 9:44-49; Luke 16:23-24; Revelation 14:10-11).
As a believer in Christ, it is your duty to lovingly warn those who are blindly heading toward the edge of a cliff spiritually to repent of their sin and come to Christ for salvation.
James 5:20 says, “...let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (NKJV)
Bill Cates asked in his hymn,
“Do you really care?
Do you know how to share
with people everywhere?
Do you really care?
Will you take the dare?
Spread good news everywhere?
The cross of Christ to bear?
Do you really care?”
Who do you know who is blindly heading toward the edge of a cliff spiritually?
Will you help them turn around and come to Jesus today? Do you really care?
Read Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16; 10:13-15
Jerry Fulton's goal in life is to share the love of Jesus, so others might become followers of Christ.