All posts by Pastor Richard

The “Wilderness” Experience

[Jesus] was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

Luke 4:1

 

If you have always been walking with God but seem stuck in a supposed wilderness right now, keep in mind that it may have nothing to do with any personal sin or fault on your part. Notice, Jesus was in the wilderness—not because He was weak, but because He was led by the Holy Spirit. Likewise, you could well be led by the Holy Spirit to move to your present spiritual moment.

True and Trusting Friendship with God

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.

John 15:9

 

We can believe in God but may not necessarily have a relationship with Him.

If you desire a deeper and more intimate walk with God, learn how Jesus relates to His Father. Everything Jesus did and taught was grounded in the Father's love and approval. This challenged the status quo of the religious culture of His day. The Pharisees devised an elaborate system of rules and regulations to stay safe from God's judgment because they were never sure of God's love and forgiveness. Being polluted with an image of a fearful God, it explains why they were angry with Jesus for revealing God as a loving and gracious Father.

God’s Forgiveness Makes Your Faith Stronger

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

John 8:10-11

 

God and we often treat sinners differently.

Once, a group of self-righteous religious leaders brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Quoting from the Mosaic Law, they wanted to see whether Jesus would endorse the harsh penalty for adultery or plead for leniency. Knowing their intent was not to look for justice but to trap Him, Jesus posed a question to remind them God's law applied to everyone, and not just to the woman. As such, only the righteous (in the context of the Law) can mete out judgement on the unrighteous.

Love and Friendship

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships.

Proverbs 17:9, The Passion Translation

 

Forgiveness is the greatest test of any friendship.

All of us have those disappointing moments when friends let us down or completely forsake us. Some may choose to end the friendship without telling you nor give you an explanation. That can leave you confused and hurt.

No Longer Outsiders or Outcasts

19-22 So you are no longer outsiders or aliens, but fellow-citizens with every other Christian—you belong now to the household of God. Firmly beneath you in the foundation, God’s messengers and prophets, the actual foundation-stone being Jesus Christ himself. In him each separate piece of building, properly fitting into its neighbour, grows together into a temple consecrated to God. You are all part of this building in which God himself lives by his spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22 J.B. Phillips New Testament

 

We exist to make each other more like Christ through loving and serving one another.

The key to our ability to do this rest fully on Christ who has given us everything we need to be a Christ-minded community.

The Art of Giving

7 Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving—all because God loves hilarious generosity! 8 Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything—every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do. 9 Just as the Scriptures say about the one who trusts in him: "Because he has sown extravagantly and given to the poor, his kindness and generous deeds will never be forgotten."

2 Corinthians 9:7-9, Passion Translation

 

What is your motivation when it comes to giving?

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians to encourage them to give with a proper attitude and in a proper way. If you take time to read 2 Corinthians 9, you will discover some guidelines to follow and practice.

God is Sovereign in All Things

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:1-5

 

Twenty years ago, on the morning of September 11, 2001, America woke up to an absolutely tragic, horrific and unfathomable destruction and loss of innocent life. The impact of the two hijacked airplanes bought the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and more than 2000 people died on that day.

Holiness and Healing

8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. 11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Acts 19:8-12 New International Version

 

Whenever the gospel is proclaimed in Acts, we see the Holy Spirit doing two essential things: holiness and healing. In many instances, people were not only healed from illnesses and demonic influences, they go on to live holy lives with genuine love for Christ.

Love as Jesus Loves

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35

 

Jesus tells us to love one another just as He loves us.

If we are to do it practically and effectively, we must learn to know each other and have the courage to embrace each other's uniqueness and help each other to express ourselves fully as we are.

Your Accessibility to God

17 For the Messiah has come to preach this sweet message of peace to you, the ones who were distant, and to those who are near. 18 And now, because we are united to Christ, we both have equal and direct access in the realm of the Holy Spirit to come before the Father!

Ephesians 2:17-19, The Passion Translation

 

Being justified in Christ gives you a right standing with the Father.

You can truly enjoy an intimate and healthy relationship with God and rest in His perfect love. Through His finished work on the Cross, Christ gives us a free and open access to God our Father that those under the Old Covenant did not have.