Inspirational Christian Blogs

Join us for inspiring words from today's best Christian authors

*UTR From Cross Come Peace


1 Comment

The Peace of Christ

*UTR From Cross Come Peace

A devotion from Cheryl Zelenka’s soon to be released book of devotions FACING STORMS. Available on Amazon this October.

The Word of God tells us that in this life we will have trouble. But even with tribulations we can still rest in the peace of Christ. We should find encouragement in knowing Jesus won the battle by conquering the grave. Heaven will be our eternal home, so long as we declare Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV) 

John 14:27 directs all believers to put aside fear and worry, and yet we continue to fall prey to our anxieties. Why do we refuse, neglect, or forget to rest in the peace God offers so freely? Why won’t we cast all our cares His way? How are these worries benefiting us? 

Isaiah 26:3 tells how God will keep in perfect peace the one who has a STEADFAST MIND. To be steadfast is to be resolute, firm, and unwavering in conviction. A conviction and stance to completely rely and depend on God will then develop into a supernatural stability, which also contributes to the peace that transcends all understanding. 

This verse also states that the one who is steadfast, trusts in God. Trust and a steadfast spirit produce an unwavering conviction of faith. This unshakable reliance on our Creator gradually matures the fruit of the Spirit within us. We discover great peace, as we remain steadfast in our trust, believing and never doubting that the God who loves us beyond measure is our one and only sure foundation. 

“You will keep in perfect peace 
those whose minds are steadfast, 
because they trust in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) 

As we continue to trust God with our cares, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit grows within us, this spiritual fruit will becomes more apparent to those all around us. It will draw many into our company since the peace of Christ is attractive and powerful. Romans 15:13 offers up a prayer asking the God of HOPE to fill those in need with joy and peace as they trust in His power. By trusting God, in all matters, He fills us with joy, peace, and hope! 

We find in Psalm 119:165 that those who love God’s law have great peace and nothing can make them stumble. With a solid knowledge of scripture, we empower the Holy Spirit to speak to our heart and mind, thus directing our steps and preventing trips in our spiritual walk. Peace comes to those who trust a guide who is all knowing, wise, and able to do great things. 

Finally, Philippians 4:6-7 describes a peace that transcends or surpasses all understanding. In order to attain this peace we must petition God with our requests, and do so with a thankful heart. The thanks we offer comes in knowing He hears and answers all of our prayers according to His perfect will, and through His most holy and precious grace.

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ rest upon you, give you shelter in your difficult days, and protect you today, tomorrow, and always. Amen.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

“Peace is not the absence of affliction but the presence of God.”  ~ Unknown

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

“Great peace have those who love your law, 
 and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 (NIV)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)


2 Comments

SATAN’S DEFEAT


by Neil Anderson

August 16

Colossians 2:15
He [Christ] disarmed the rulers and authorities [and] made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him
 
In Colossians 2:15, Paul identifies something very important that happened at the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Not only were we made alive in Christ, but Satan was also disarmed and defeated. His defeat is not pending, nor is it future; it has already happened.
 
If Satan is already disarmed, why don’t we experience more victory in our lives? In a word, the lie. Satan roams around like a hungry lion, looking and sounding ferocious. In reality his fangs have been removed and he has been declawed, but if he can deceive you into believing that he can chew you up and spit you out, he can control you, which is just what he wants to do. He is gumming Christians to death!
 
The very reason Christ conferred His authority on us was to demonstrate to the kingdom of darkness who is really in control in this world. In Ephesians Paul wrote that his call was “to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carries about in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11).
 
How are we doing at making Christ’s victory known to “the rulers and authorities in heavenly places,” which is God’s eternal purpose? In many quarters, not very well. Some of us are still saying, “What rulers and authorities?” We’re not sure that demons even exist. How are we ever going to get our job done in the world if we don’t believe what God says about the kingdom of darkness? Others of us are cowering in the corner pleading, “O God, please help us! The devil is roaring at us!” And God responds, “I’ve done all I’m going to do. I defeated and disarmed Satan at the cross. I conferred all authority on you in Christ. Now open your eyes. Realize who you are and start demonstrating the authority you already possess.”
 
Prayer: In Your name, Lord, I will take an active stand against the devil and his demons, renouncing both apathy and fear.


2 Comments

LOVING OTHERS


by Neil Anderson

 

August 15
 
Luke 6:32 
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them
 
For many people, loving others is a nebulous concept. Fortunately, agape love is very clearly defined in the Scriptures. When love is used as a noun in Scripture, it is referring to character. For example: “God is love” (1 John 4:8); “Love is patient, love is kind,” etc. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Love is the highest of character attainments: “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). Love is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), the means by which a true disciple of Christ is identified (John 13:35). The attention given to love in passages such as 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4 reveals its importance to God in our interpersonal relationships, of which the family is primary.
 
Agape love is not dependent on the person being loved, but on the lover. You may like someone because of who he is; but you love him because of who you are. God loves us not because we are lovable, but because God is love. If it were any other way, God’s love would be conditional. If you performed better, would God love you more? Of course not. God’s love for us is not based on our performance, but on His character.
 
Love is also used as a verb in Scripture. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Used this way, love is grace in action. It is giving unconditionally to meet the needs of another.
 
If you say you don’t love someone, you have said more about yourself than about that person. Specifically, you’re saying that you haven’t attained the maturity to love him unconditionally (Luke 6:32). The grace of God enables you to love others in a way that people without Christ cannot. God doesn’t command you to like your family, your neighbors and your coworkers because you can’t order your emotions to respond. But He does instruct you to love them. You can always choose to do the loving thing and trust that your feelings will follow in time.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for bestowing on me the greatest love of all by sending Jesus. Teach me to love others as You have loved me.


7 Comments

LIVING ABOVE LIFE’S CIRCUMSTANCES


by Neil Anderson

 

August 12
Philippians 4:11 
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am
 
Some of us tend to assume that it is God’s will if the circumstances are favorable and it isn’t God’s will if the circumstances are unfavorable. Next to the Bible, I would guess that more Christians are “guided” by this means than any other. Yet of all the possible means of guidance, this is the least authoritative and trustworthy.
 
I had the privilege of pastoring a church that purchased new property and went through a building program. Through most of the process the circumstances didn’t seem favorable. Twice I sat with the mayor, who was also a local real estate agent, and asked him if he thought our plans were feasible. He advised us not to make the land trade, and he didn’t think the city would allow us to build. He knew the real estate and the political climate better than anyone in the city. But the land swap increased our assets by millions and the city planning commission voted 7-0 in favor of our building plans.
 
You may have to set sail by the tide, but you’d better be guided by the stars or you’re going to end up on the wrong shore. Circumstances may have their effect on your plans, but you have a far greater accountability to God. Make sure you follow Him, not the tide of circumstances.
 
I heard a motivational speaker say, “I don’t like to recruit Christians because when the going gets tough they quit, concluding that it must not be God’s will.” Generally speaking, I believe that Christians should live above life’s circumstances and not be guided by them.
 
Also be careful about applying too much significance to unusual circumstances or coincidences. “It must be God’s will. Why else would that book by lying there!” It could be God’s will, but I would never take that kind of a sign on its own merit. I have helped many people in occultic bondage who have made bizarre associations or attached far too much significance to irrelevant events.
 
Prayer: Lord, I determine to test all guidance by Your Word and not to be swayed away from Your will by circumstances or popular opinion.


Leave a comment

YOUR ADVOCATE


by Neil Anderson

August 10

1 John 2:2 NIV 
He [Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world
 
When Mandy came to see me, she appeared to have her life all together. She was a Christian who was very active in her church. She had led her alcoholic father to Christ on his deathbed. She was pretty, and she had a nice husband and two wonderful children. But she had attempted suicide at least three times.
 
“How can God love me?” Mandy sobbed. “I’m such a failure.”
 
“Mandy, God loves you, not because you are lovable, but because it is His nature to love you.”
 
“But I’ve tried to take my own life, Neil. How can God overlook that?”
 
“Just suppose, Mandy, that your son grew despondent and tried to take his own life. Would you love him any less? Would you kick him out of the family? Would you turn your back on him?”
 
“Of course not. I’d feel sorry for him and try to love him more.”
 
“Are you telling me that a perfect God isn’t as good a parent to you as you, an imperfect person, are to your children?”
 
Mandy got the point. She began to realize that God, as a loving parent, can overlook weaknesses and forgive sin.
 
God wants us to do good, of course. The apostle John wrote: “I write this to you so that you will not sin.” But John continued by reminding us that God has already made provision for our failure so His love continues constant despite what we do: “But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2 NIV ).
 
One reason we doubt God’s love is that we have an adversary who uses every little offense to accuse us of being good-for-nothings. But your advocate, Jesus Christ, is more powerful than your adversary. He has canceled the debt of your sins–past, present and future. No matter what you do or how you fail, God has no reason not to love you and accept you completely.
 
Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You for being my perfect parent, my haven of security and trustworthiness, and the victor over my enemy.


1 Comment

CLEAR, LOVING COMMUNICATION


by Neil Anderson

August 9

Proverbs 18:13 
He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him
 
“I can’t get a handle on my problems, Neil,” Ruth complained. “I know my children are struggling at school, but they won’t share it with me. Why won’t they talk to me?”
 
“Do you really want to know, Ruth?”
 
“Of course!”
 
“They probably don’t feel they can trust you,” I responded.
 
“What do you mean they can’t trust me? I’m their mother!”
 
“Let me illustrate,” I said. “Suppose your 15-year-old daughter came home one day and said that her best friend was taking drugs. What would you say to her?”
 
Ruth paused for a moment, then said, “I’d probably tell her to find another friend.” “Exactly! And that’s why she doesn’t share that kind of information with you.”
 
Like a lot of parents, Ruth was in the habit of reacting to her kids before she knew what was really going on. Two or three reactions like this from you and your child is ready to clam up forever. Whenever your child tells you about “my friend’s problem,” there is a very good chance that he’s the one with the problem. He will drop little hints about his “friend” to see your reaction. If you are hasty and judgmental, you can bet he won’t share any more. You must listen without judgment and hold the advice until you are sure you know the whole story.
 
Clear, loving communication in your family is imperative if you are going to foil Satan’s attempt to seduce your child. After all, if you don’t listen when he tells you about his school problems, he may not bother to tell you about his evil thoughts. And if you criticize him when he admits his mistakes, he won’t want you to know about the terrifying dark presence he experiences in his room at night. Faulty communication doesn’t necessarily cause spiritual problems in your child, but it can certainly block or delay the resolution of those problems.
 
Prayer: Lord, make me a parent my children can trust and be comfortable with, and deliver me from being harsh and critical.


6 Comments

TRYING TO CONTROL OTHERS


by Neil Anderson

 

August 7
 
Proverbs 3:5 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding
 
When a person’s self-worth or success hinges on the achievement of a goal which can be blocked or which is uncertain or impossible, how will he respond to those who frustrate his goals? Often he will attempt to control or manipulate the people or circumstances who stand between him and his success.
 
For example, a pastor’s goal is to have the finest youth ministry in the community. But one of his board members blocks his goal by insisting that a music ministry is more important. Every attempt by the pastor to hire a youth pastor is vetoed by the influential board member who wants to hire a music director first. The pastor wrongly perceives that his sense of worth and success in ministry is on the line. So he shifts into a power mode to push the stumbling block out of the way. He looks for a way to change the opposition’s mind or remove him from the board because he believes that his success in ministry is dependent on reaching his goal of a great youth ministry.
 
A mother believes that her self-worth is dependent on her children behaving in a certain way. Her goal is to raise perfect little Christians who will become pastors or missionaries. But as the children reach their teen years and begin to express their independence, their behavior doesn’t always match their mother’s ideal. So instead of helping them grow through adolescence and releasing them into adulthood, she tries to control them.
 
It is not hard to understand why people try to control others. They believe that their worth is dependent on other people and circumstances. This is a false belief as evidenced by the fact that the most insecure people you will ever meet are manipulators and controllers of others. But people who are secure in their identity in Christ don’t need to control others. Their goal is to be the leader, spouse, parent or employee that God wants them to be because nothing can keep them from being what God wants them to be but themselves.
 
Prayer: Lord, I affirm that my worth is based on my relationship with You and that I am free to become the person You want me to be.
*Power


1 Comment

There Is Power In HIS Name

*Power

“The safest place in all the world is in the will of God, and the safest protection in all the world is in the name of God.” ~ Unknown

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV)

“For whomever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”   Romans 10:13 (NKJV)

“By stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 (NKJV)

The name of Jesus holds great power. In Philippians 2:10 we are told that God has given His son a name that is above every other name.  The name of Jesus will cause every knee to bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. 

Romans 10:13 states that anyone who calls on the name of Jesus shall be saved. When you call out to the Son of God, and acknowledge Him as your personal Lord and Savior, you accept He died, rose again, and was resurrected into heaven. Only upon this confession of faith will you find His protection. It is the only the child of God who is given assurance of protection in His strong tower and under the shelter of His wing.

God will deliver believers out of all kinds of tribulations and challenging circumstances, so long as they have not been designed for our welfare and spiritual grown. In that case, God will walk us through the adversity, providing the necessary discernment, wisdom, strength and courage we require.

Satan and the demons tremble at the mere mention of His holy name…JESUS.  In fact, spirits of darkness think twice about harassing God’s children when the name of Jesus is mentioned in their prayers (Luke 10:17). Jesus won the battle over darkness long ago when He pinned our sins to the cross. The victory is His, and therefore ours as well.

During times of supplication, what does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? Quite simply, it means to ask by the authority of Christ Jesus. With our confession of faith, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:13-14)

Our Savior offers up petitions on our behalf, both day and night, before the before the throne of God. Jesus is our advocate. When we ask in His name, it is with the intent of aligning our will with His and accepting His absolute authority over us, including our circumstances.

Imagine a knock on your door at 2am. Before opening and giving entrance, you ask, “Who is it and by whose authority do you come?”  If they say, “In the name of the police department or Homeland Security,” you will most likely open your door and permit entrance.  Now consider how much MORE AUTHORITY we have by using the name of Jesus!

Are you are gong through a spiritual battle? Call on His name! Speak His name out loud. You will accomplish little to nothing through your own might. Chaos and confusion will only fasten themselves to your situation. We fight against principalities and powers of darkness and at such times of spiritual battle, the power of His name will bring down strongholds.

We have a glorious promise in James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Calling out the name “Jesus” will certainly speed up the departure. We assert our position and inheritance in Christ when we call out the name of our Savior. For further protection, God has provided us with the spiritual armor of God. Be sure to keep it well oiled with prayer.

If you are facing trials of pain and suffering, God knows how weary you are and wants to help. He has unimaginable power and strength to share. This is why He COMMANDS us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for       I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Did you notice the words COME, TAKE, and LEARN?

I pray, dear reader, you learn to quicken your response to Christ when you find yourself in need. Don’t hesitate to call out, “Jesus!” A one-word prayer is all you need for God to send a legion of angels to your defense. Jesus is your champion and with this fact you, and I, will always be victorious. 

“Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!
 Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You
 and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah    Psalm 66:2-4 (NKJV)

“Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” Luke 10:17 (NKJV)

“By stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 (NKJV)

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13 (NKJV)

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“Jesus is a name, which is especially sweet and precious to believers. It has often done them good. It has given them what money cannot buy-that is, inward peace. It has eased their wearied consciences and given rest to many, when it says, “Your name is oil poured forth” (Song of Solomon 1:3) happy is the person who trusts not merely in vague notions of God’s mercy and goodness, but in “Jesus.” 

*Adapted from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW by J.C. Ryle (Chapter 1) http://www.jesus.org/is-jesus-god/names-of-jesus/what-does-the-name-jesus-mean.html


2 Comments

THE COUNTERFEITS


by Neil Anderson

 

August 5

John 8:24 

Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins
 
In assessing counterfeits to Christianity, no criterion is more important than the Person of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote: “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough” (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4 NIV ).
 
Other religions may talk about Jesus, but they present Him in another way than He is presented in Scripture. They may talk about the same historical Jesus, but not about the Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, and the great I AM. Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sin” (John 8:24). If you believe in Jesus in any other way than how He is presented in the Bible, you will receive an altogether different spirit instead of the Holy Spirit and an altogether different gospel instead of the gospel of grace.
 
The counterfeit spirits which are at work in the cults and the occult are nothing like the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you” (John 16:13, 14). The Holy Spirit always leads us back to Christ.
 
The counterfeit gospel is not a gospel of grace because the blood of bulls and goats will never take away sin, so you are left with a gospel of works. But the real Jesus died for our sins, the Spirit of truth has come, and we are marvelously saved by grace.
 
Prayer: Lord, I want to be so filled with the knowledge of Your truth that I may quickly recognize and turn from all counterfeits of the gospel.