1Imagine an elderly man or woman is standing at the bottom of a steep set of stairs. They look up and wonder if they can make it. If you see their need and then come alongside them help them up the stairs, you are giving them comfort according to the Bible meaning of the word.
2The biggest question about our suffering is not “Why?” but “What?” What am I going to do in response to my suffering? You have a choice in the matter. When pain comes, some people grumble, some people gripe, some people groan, others grieve. Some people grunt and growl, but there are some people, like Paul, who GROW. The choice is yours!
3Sadly, many people view God as a cosmic killjoy who watches from heaven just waiting to catch them doing something wrong. But the God of the Bible isn’t trying to spoil your fun by constantly telling you, “No!” God loves you and He wants you to enjoy life to the fullest.
4It’s hard to live up to the promise “satisfaction guaranteed” because there are plenty of people who will never be satisfied! The Bible teaches true satisfaction comes from having a relationship with God. And God guarantees we can have that.
5Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you automatically get along with everyone else in the church. There were conflicts in the church 2,000 years ago and there are still conflicts between Christians today.
6The Bible teaches that godly sorrow produces repentance. There is a kind of worldly sorrow that doesn’t lead to repentance. When someone says, “I’m sorry” they might be saying, “I’m sorry I got caught.” Or they don’t plan on changing their behavior. Godly sorrow always produces repentance. When a person truly repents, their heart is broken over their sin.
7When we surrender to Jesus, we haven’t lost, we’ve won! Our victory is assured when we surrender completely to the rule and reign of Jesus Christ in our lives. The Bible says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” Some people stop here and think that since faith is the victory, that if I want more victory I must have more faith. Not at all.
8You may have family members or friends who don’t know the Lord. You’ve shared with them and tried to show them the Christian life. You’ve allowed the fragrance of Christ in your life to envelope them in the things you do and say. And yet, they still haven’t come to faith in Christ. They hold their noses and say, “No thanks!” You need to remember they aren’t rejecting you, they are rejecting Jesus. When you expose them to the beautiful aroma of Christ through your life and your lips, then you’ve done what God has expected of you. So don’t be discouraged. Don’t stop. Keep on loving them. Keep on sharing Christ with them.
9Can you imagine the stir that would occur in the scientific and academic world if a letter from Jesus could be authenticated, could you imagine how much it would be worth? Millions? Billions? Trillions? No doubt, that letter would be the most valuable writing in the history of the world.
10Sometimes people think they lack confidence because when they face a challenge, they’re afraid they don’t have what it takes to be successful. You DON’T have what it takes, but God does! He has everything you need to be all that He wants you to be. He has a storehouse, a reservoir, an ocean of resources that He wants you to access. The sad thing is that many of us don’t claim these resources.
11Some Christians are confused and think people in the Old Testament time were saved by keeping the Law. If that were the case, then no one from Old Testament times would be in heaven.
12Paul says Satan’s plan is to place a “think” veil between God’s truth and the mind of an unbeliever. There are at least three truths Satan wants to keep covered from you. He wants to conceal the truth that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
13A pot or a vessel is designed and created to hold something, not to be an object in itself. As long as they sit there empty, they aren’t really fulfilling the reason they were made. In the same way, our lives are a contradiction until we understand that God created us to contain something.
14You may be struggling and hurting right now because of all the personal pain you’re having to endure. You may be pressured, but you WON’T be crushed; you may be perplexed, but you WON’T be left in despair; you may be attacked and persecuted, but you WON’T be abandoned by God; you might even be knocked down, but you WON’T be knocked out!
15God’s grace is operating right now. You needed God’s grace back then when you accepted Christ, but you need it just as much at this second as well. The only person who doesn’t need God’s grace at this second is the person who never sins. Does anyone qualify?
16If you wait until you see something before you believe, you will never believe. But if you believe first, then what you believe will be seen when you learn to use the eyes of faith.
17Every person in every nation and culture on earth has to answer this question: What happens after a person dies? Basically, the answers to this question fall into three possible categories.
18Before you can learn to read, you’ve got to learn the alphabet. Before you can ever live the Christian life, you must learn this elementary spiritual principle: We walk by faith; not by sight. We must learn to go beyond sight to faith.
19Opportunities to serve God yesterday are gone, but you have the rest of today and the rest of your life to serve Him, so that when you stand before Him you can cast your crowns at his feet and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
20Why do you do what you do for the Lord? Instead of focusing on WHAT you do for God, I want you to think about WHY you do it. In other words, what motivates you to serve God? Do you do it out of a sense of obligation, or out of a sense of love?
21Before Jesus, God had always been so unapproachable that He told Moses that if anyone looked at Him, they would instantly perish. But with the birth of this son to a virgin. For the first time in history, God became Immanuel, God WITH us.
22Every Christian should wear a sign around our neck that says, “Under New Management.” What used to happen inside our lives has changed. I have a new purpose for living; a new attitude toward others; a new identity in Christ; and a new nature that’s changing me. I’ve had an extreme makeove–on the inside.
23We are Ambassadors for Christ. We are the only exposure to Jesus many people will ever see. That’s why we should live lives of loving kindness toward others. To show them that Jesus loves them. That’s why we should always try to live in such a way that no shame or dishonor is attached to the name of Jesus.
24God does more than simply remove our sins–that’s only half of the exchange. God gives us the righteousness of Christ.
25Paul warns us about receiving God’s grace in vain, because there is the possibility that we can actually waste God’s grace.
26I suspect there are some people whose hearts are so closed to the truth of the resurrection that if Jesus literally appeared in our midst right now, some would claim it was a hologram or done with smoke and mirrors. If you don’t believe by faith, I doubt you would believe if He stood before you with His wounded hands extended.
27As you desire to love God more and more, you’ll find that the desire for the wrong kinds of relationships will naturally fall away.
28The amazing thing about God’s power is He can convert our troubles into joy. When the world does its worst to us, that’s when God can do His best for us.
29There is a deep-seated need in the human heart to seek forgiveness. For those of us who know Christ, we find our forgiveness in God’s amazing grace. But what about the millions of people who claim to have no relationship with Jesus? They are still desperately seeking ways to find forgiveness and to unload their sense of guilt.
30Sorrow is never a pleasant experience, but neither was castor oil as a kid, but my mom gave that to me sometimes! Like castor oil, sorrow is bitter, but it can make us better.
31The words “grace” and “give” go together like two peas in a pod. There is a direct link between grace and giving. I’m not saying that in order to experience God’s grace you must give. The opposite it true: When you’re full of God’s grace you will be a generous giver.
32In order to understand the high cost of grace, we must understand the price the Lord Jesus Christ was willing to pay.
33I want to share with you how we have been blessed to be a blessing. We are blessed to live in America. We are blessed to living in East Texas, and because we are blessed, we have the joy of being a blessing to others.
34When you give to God, are you giving grudgingly and reluctantly? Or do you find yourself giggling as you give? If you want to be a giggly giver, understand that your attitude is more important than your amount.
35There are as many possible strongholds as the wicked creativity of Satan can devise. If you are honest with yourself, you’ll admit there is an area in your life in which you seem to fail over and over. Your desire to live right is there, but it seems as if someone evil is perched on a high wall and like a sniper, he keeps taking pot shots at you when it comes to those areas.
36There are three comparisonitis myths that enslave us. (1) I must be like everyone else to be happy. (2) I must be liked by everyone to be happy. And (3) I must have the things everyone else has to be happy. Comparisonitis is psychosomatic, because it’s all in your mind. You start believing Satan’s lies rather than God’s truth.
37There is a kind of arrogant boasting that destroys good relationships. Nobody really likes being around someone how is constantly talking about how great they are. Truly great people don’t brag about themselves. Three kinds of boasting that should be avoided.
38The same serpent who deceived Eve is actively trying to deceive believers today. And in our age of advanced technology, we have even more ways to believe lies. It seems that Christians are some of the most gullible people around these days. We’re prone to believe anything that someone emails us.
39Anyone has a right to be an unbelieving fool, but I am disturbed when a tiny percentage of aggressive atheists work with evangelistic zeal to try to remove every mention of God from our public life. God who created us, loves us so much that He gives us the ability to choose to believe in Him.
40Do you have an episode of failure in your past but got back up and God has blessed you since? If you’ve had a midnight basket escape of your own, it equips you to deal with the next time you fail. That’s a great promise of God from the Bible: We will fail, but failure doesn’t have to define us. God can still use failures like Paul and like us.
41The current problem is that most of us don’t seem to be as excited about going to heaven. I think one of the greatest tragedies of the modern church is that we have either ignored heaven or we have robbed heaven of its wondrous joy to the point that most Christians are apathetic about the idea of heaven.
42Instead of listening to all the pundits and so-called experts, maybe we should listen to God’s Word written 3,000 years ago found in Psalm 2:1, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” There’s plenty of raging going on, and there are more bailout plots and rescue plans than we can handle. But I love verse 4. It simply says, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs.”
43Have you discovered people are much more valuable than things? When you do you’ll cherish friendships and relationships and do anything you can to maintain them, and to repair the ones that are broken.
44Some people read their Bibles like a tax attorney reading the IRS code looking for loopholes. But God wants us to read and study His Word like a love letter He has written to guide us through our daily lives.
45Christian harmony is like a piano, we don’t have to all sing the same note, but we have to be tuned into the same pitch. Church people get out of tune with each other when we start comparing and criticizing each other and using anyone else other than Jesus as our measure or standard.