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Jesus Overcame Death at the Cross

Awhile back I caught a cab to the airport. I was chatting away with the driver, Tom, when we passed a ghost bike along the way. Ghost bikes are painted white and placed along roadsides to memorialize someone who was killed there in a biking accident.

“That is so sad,” I said, commenting on the bike.

“Yeah, I had a friend who was killed on this highway,” Tom said. “A lot of people have died riding road bikes on this highway.”

“Tom,” I said, “what do you think happens after we die?”

Tom said that he believed in reincarnation. I listened as he went on to explain, and then he said, “Well, what do you think happens after we die?”

Don’t ever ask a preacher a question like that unless you want a little sermon. I said, “I believe that if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will go to heaven. And one day I believe that heaven will come back to earth, and we will be with Christ for all eternity.”

“Man, I like your version of the afterlife better than mine.”

“That is not my version,” I told him. “That is the Bible’s version. That’s what Jesus said.”

The afterlife is something we think about quite often. We know it’s coming. And the older we get, the reality of it gets stronger. We start losing friends and family members. We know our day will come.

I read about a survey that was done regarding Americans’ spirituality. The article said, “Belief in God and attendance at religious serviced declined by half while self-reported spirituality declined five-fold.” But the article went on to say that Americans are “slightly more likely to believe in an afterlife.”

How does that work? “I’m not sure if I believe in God or the Bible, but I believe in heaven.” We wouldn’t even have the word heaven without the Bible. We wouldn’t have the concept of heaven without the Bible.

The popularity of a subject doesn’t change the facts about it. One individual is a reliable source on the afterlife, and that is Jesus Christ himself. He said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38 NKJV). He came down from heaven.

Easter is the time when we remember that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. We look at this and wonder how it could be part of any plan. But it was a plan – it was God’s perfect, well-ordered plan. God was the master of ceremonies at the Cross. The Bible tells us that “it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief” (Isaiah 53:10 NLT). How could the Father possibly be pleased by the horrible treatment that his son faced? How could the Father be pleased by the fact that his son was beaten beyond human recognition? God wasn’t pleased by that. God wasn’t pleased by the fact that his judgment had to be poured on his son who died in our place.

However, God was pleased with what would come as a result. God was pleased by the fact that Christians around the world would gather on Easter weekend and celebrate a risen Lord because of his death and resurrection. God was pleased by what was accomplished at the Cross, because as Christ hung there, he was bearing the sin of the world and dying as a substitute. He was suffering the punishment for all of our sins in our place.

Jesus had not only predicted the fact that he would die; he also predicted that he would rise from the dead. This was lost on the disciples. They had collectively missed the memo. But three days later Jesus rose, just as he said he would.

Here’s what we need to remember: God always keeps his promises. If God says something will happen, it will happen. God told us that his son would come to this earth. That happened. God told us that his son would be crucified. That happened. God told us that his son would be raised from the dead. That has happened. God told us that his son will come back again to this earth. That will happen. And quite possibly, it will happen very soon.

This brings us back to the question: What happens when we die? That all depends. Heaven is not the default destination of every person. It is only the destination of the person who has put his or her faith in Christ.

If you’re a Christian, you’ll go straight to heaven when you die. The apostle Paul said that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Paul wrote, “I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me” (Philippians 1:23 NLT).

When a Christian dies, the body goes into the ground, but the spirit goes directly into the presence of God. That is a great truth. We know this because 1 Corinthians 15:21 tells us, “Just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man” (NLT).

Jesus has overcome death at the Cross.

And as I told cab driver Tom, one day heaven will come to earth. Revelation 21, speaking of this, says, “‘God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’ And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (verses 3–5 NLT)

God will make everything new. I love that. No more terminal diseases. No more hospitals. No more wheelchairs. No more accidents. No more courts. No more prisons. No more divorces. No more breakups or breakdowns. No more suicide. No more rape. No more children missing. No more drug problems. No more heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s, or cancer. No more famines. No more disasters. No more suffering. No more funerals. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God will make everything new.

Published on by Cassie Littel.

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Are you a Builder or a Breaker?

I heard about a monk who joined a monastery and took a vow of silence, with the exception of being allowed to speak two words every year. After the first year passed, he was called into the abbot’s office to speak his two words. The monk said, “Bed’s hard.”

Another year passed, and again he went to speak his two words before the abbot. The monk said, “Food’s cold.”

Another year went by, and he appeared once again before the abbot. “You’re allowed your two words,” the abbot told him. “What are they?”

The monk said, “I quit.”

“It’s no wonder!” the abbot exclaimed. “Since you’ve been here, all you’ve done is complain!”

That is true of some people. All they want to do is complain. My friend James Merritt says there are two kinds of people in this world: those who are born again, and those who are born against. Some people are simply contrary. Nothing pleases them. Nothing meets their standards. They actually like to go and make trouble in the lives of others. As Proverbs 4:16 says, evil people are restless unless they’re making trouble. They can’t even get a good night’s sleep unless they have made life miserable for someone.

Zig Ziglar said, “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”

The Old Testament tells the story of Nehemiah, who was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Two names, however, keep popping up in the narrative: Sanballat and Tobiah. They were the initial opponents of Nehemiah and God’s people, and they went from minor irritation to full-blown rage.

Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer, which put him in close proximity to the king. He not only was in a place of influence, but he also was in a place of affluence. He had a significant role and was living in the lap of luxury, literally. Nehemiah was Jewish, and the Jews had been allowed to return from Babylon to their homeland. Many had. They rebuilt the temple, but word came to Nehemiah that the walls of the city were lying in rubble. It was an embarrassment, and Nehemiah was led by God to go and rebuild the walls. When you build, however, you have to battle.

If we’re doing God’s work, then we will be roundly criticized. I have come to look at it as a form of confirmation that I’m on the right track. Criticism can be demoralizing. It can be painful. Nehemiah had just started building the wall when the mocking began. Sanballat said, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap – and charred ones at that?” (Nehemiah 4:2 NLT). There was more than a hint of anti-Semitism in that statement. But Nehemiah pressed on and did what God had called him to do.

It isn’t fun to be ridiculed, is it? It isn’t enjoyable to be laughed at. For example, look at the way Hollywood loves to portray Christians as fools and buffoons. According to Hollywood, we’re everything that is wrong with this world. That is a form of persecution, and here’s what Jesus had to say about it: “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” (Matthew 5:11–12 NKJV).

Critics run in packs. Critics engage in groupthink. Critical people find each other, and they feed off each other. They are the trash talkers and the wall breakers. But as David Brinkley said, “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

In a way we are all building something. And sometimes there are things in our lives that need to be rebuilt. However, the moment you start building is also the moment you will start battling. And if you’re doing the work of God, then you will face opposition. Don’t allow the loudest voices in your life to be those of your critics. Let the loudest voice in your life be God speaking to you.

When you’re under attack, take it to God in prayer. Nehemiah prayed about the criticism, saying, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders” (Nehemiah 4:5 NLT).

What you do when you’re criticized? What you do when you’re attacked? Take it to the Lord. When the Israelites were grumbling and complaining about Moses, what did he do? He called on God. When King Hezekiah received a threatening letter, what did he do? He brought it before the Lord. When John the Baptist was beheaded, what did his disciples do? They went and told Jesus. So when trouble comes your way, call out to God. “Give all your worries and cares to God,” the Bible says, “for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

There are two things you can always pass on to Jesus: criticism and praise. One can deflate you, and the other can inflate you. Both are not helpful to you spiritually.

When you get down to it, everyone is either building something or tearing down something. It’s always easy to critique what someone else is doing, but my question is this: Are you a participator, or are you a spectator? Are you a servant, or are you a slacker? Are you a worker, or are you a shirker? Let me put it another way: Are you a wall builder, or are you a wall breaker? Are you a faith builder, or are you a faith breaker? It really comes down to one of the two. Which one will you be?

Published on by Cassie Littel.

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Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

When wickedness is rampant, we wonder why God doesn’t stop it. We look around at our world today and wonder, “Why would God allow those terrorists to do what they did?” or “Why would God allow that injustice?” or “Why does God permit these things to happen?”

God is fully aware of what is happening. First he reveals his grace before he brings his judgment. The Old Testament book of Genesis begins with the story of the Garden of Eden, where everything was perfect. Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful garden with the incredible things God had made. Best of all, the Lord himself would show up as the sun was setting, and Adam would take a walk with God every day.

You probably know the story. The serpent entered the scene and deceived Eve. Adam disobeyed. Thus, sin entered the world. Then things went downhill rapidly. By the time we get to Genesis 6, God is saying that he’s sorry he made man (see verse 6). God was grieved in his heart. If someone dies whom you love deeply, you grieve deeply. God was grieving over Adam and Eve’s sin. He took no pleasure in it.

Then why does God send judgment? Because God is just. Abraham rightly said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25 NKJV). If people can flagrantly and continually break the laws of God and pervert everything God has made, everything that is right and good, then is it appropriate for the Lord to turn a blind eye? If God is just, then isn’t it appropriate for him to take action?

Some might say that is not very loving. But let’s just say you had a sweet little toddler who was playing in your backyard, and you saw a wolf suddenly jump the fence and move rapidly toward your child. What are you going to do?

Are you going to talk with the wolf? Are you going to try and hug the wolf? Those things won’t work. You probably would shoot him or hit him with something. Why? Because you love your child.

God loves His creation. God loves mankind. And the Bible says that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (see Ezekiel 33:11). But God also said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever” (Genesis 6:3 NKJV).

I wonder if the Lord has reached that point right now. He knows about every act of wickedness and perversion. He knows things that you and I don’t even know. In this day of instant information and social media, we practically see and hear everything in real time. I think that is one of the reasons we’re so stressed out. We don’t wait until tomorrow to pick up the morning newspaper; we get the news on our Twitter feed. That is the world we’re living in today.

In the days of Noah, God said, in effect, “That’s it! I’m going to bring judgment.” But against this very dark spiritual background lived a man who walked with God. Noah was that man. Sometimes when jewelers want to display a beautiful piece of jewelry, they will place it on a dark background. In the same way, sometimes we can better appreciate someone who lives a pure life when they are put against the backdrop of a very impure world.

Noah, a rare jewel indeed, shined against the very dark spiritual backdrop of his day. The Bible tells us that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8 NKJV). Did God have grace on Noah because he lived a righteous life? No. It is actually the opposite. The word grace means “God’s unmerited favor.” God extended grace toward Noah, and Noah responded to that grace.

That is how we all come to know God. You see, justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. And grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Don’t ever say to God, “I want justice in my life.” You don’t want justice; you want mercy and grace.

God extended grace toward Noah. “For by grace you have been saved through faith,” Ephesians says, “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (2:8–9 NIV).

God did not love Noah because he lived a godly life. Noah lived a godly life because he understood how much God loved him. There is a difference. The Bible says, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NKJV).

God loves you. Just embrace that and be thankful for it – even when times are hard. The apostle Paul said, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV).

In the book of Daniel we find a story about a law being passed that prohibited prayer. Can you imagine such a law today? What would you do? We know what Daniel did. We’re told in Daniel 6, “But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God” (verse 10 NLT).

If the Bible said, “He opened his windows and prayed, ‘God why did you let this happen?’” I would have understood that. But Daniel gave thanks to God because he was in the habit of doing so. That is a good habit to be in.

We cannot only give thanks when things seem to be good. We must give thanks because the Lord is good and because he is working all things together for good.

We’ve heard the expression, “It’s all good.” And in a broad sense, it actually is. I don’t mean that every little thing that is happens is good, because bad things happen. Inexplicable things happen. Hardships and tragedies happen. I am not saying those are good things. But I am saying that it’s all good in the sense that God is good. And God ultimately will work things together for his good and for his glory – and for our good as well.

Published on by Cassie Littel.

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Sin: It Starts With a Thought.

Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist everything except temptation.” That’s the problem with temptation. It’s so tempting. But sometimes we unnecessarily put ourselves in the way of it.

In the Old Testament, we find the story of Joseph, someone who faced some heavy-duty temptation. Joseph’s world suddenly changed when his brothers sold him to a group of traveling slave traders. Overnight he went from a life of relative comfort to a life of uncertainty.

Joseph was sent to Egypt, a pagan country filled with religious superstition. The Egyptians worshiped as many as 2,000 gods and goddesses, as well as animals, insects and the Nile River. And of course they worshiped the Pharaoh himself. They also were given over to gross immorality.

Here in this place of wickedness and idolatry, 17-year-old Joseph arrived on the scene. He was effectively a country boy coming to the big city. Joseph was purchased by a man named Potiphar, identified in Genesis 39:1 as “captain of the guard.” This meant Potiphar was a high-ranking Egyptian official, head of the military police. He also was in charge of the royal bodyguard (a Secret Service of sorts) and was the chief of the executioners. In other words, Potiphar was one bad dude.

Joseph, however, wasn’t intimidated at all. Why? Genesis 39:2 gives us the answer: “The LORD was with Joseph” (NKJV). Joseph was a classic example of Psalm 1, which says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season” (verses 1–3 NKJV).

Potiphar was a hard guy to work for, but Joseph worked with complete integrity. Joseph was so successful at what he did that Potiphar made him his executive assistant. He was second in command in Potiphar’s household.

Sometimes when things are going well, we become more vulnerable. When we can’t always make ends meet, or we’re sick, or we’re having challenges, we are dependent on God. But when things are going well, when we have a little extra money in the bank and our health is good, that is when temptation will hit. That’s when it hit Joseph.

Genesis 39 tells us that “Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. ‘Come and sleep with me,’ she demanded” (verse 7 NLT).

But Joseph refused. He told her, “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God” (verse 9 NLT). Joseph’s no to Potiphar’s wife was a yes to God.

From that point on, Joseph did his best to steer clear of her. But then we’re told, “One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, ‘Come on, sleep with me!’ Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house” (verses 11–12 NLT).

That’s the way you deal with sin. You turn around and run. You put as much distance between it and yourself as you possibly can.

Maybe you’re living in an ungodly place right now. Maybe you’re the only believer in your family or the only Christian in your neighborhood. Maybe you’re the only Christian in your classroom or in your workplace. You know what it’s like to be in a wicked place. You’re thinking, “It’s hard. I’m surrounded by temptation day and night. I don’t know that I can stay pure in a place like this.”

Joseph was able to. And his life shows us there is a blessing waiting for the man or the woman who resists temptation. I know it’s hard in the moment. I know the pressure is on. I know it isn’t easy. But say no to temptation, and you will be blessed. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (NKJV). That word blessed could just as easily be translated “happy.” Happy is the man or the woman who resists temptation.

Everyone will be tempted. But temptation isn’t a sin; it is a call to battle. It can even be an indication that you’re moving in the right direction. After all, Jesus was tempted at the beginning and the end of his ministry. If he faced it, why do we think it will be any different for us?

There are consequences to sin. Joseph understood that. No matter how clever someone thinks they have been in covering it up, their sin will find them out.

God’s standards are absolute; they don’t change. Even if what you’re being tempted to do might be socially acceptable, even though everyone is doing it, it doesn’t matter. God holds us to a higher standard.

Realize that all sin is against God. Our love for God should be our greatest deterrent against sin.

As for Joseph, he prospered. But that prosperity included spending some time in prison after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape. It looked like a bleak scenario, but things worked out very well for Joseph in the end.

Maybe you’ve been considering something that you know is wrong before God. You’ve said, “I’m not doing it yet. I’m just thinking about it.”

Don’t even think about it. It has been said, “Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” It starts with a thought. Don’t even start down that road.

Joseph lived a godly life, and you can live a godly life, too. God will give you the strength to be the man or woman he wants you to be.

 

Published on by Cassie Littel.

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Even ‘Good Things’ can be Idols.

 

As the result of a diving accident left her a quadriplegic at age 17, my friend Joni Eareckson Tada has spent the last five decades in a wheelchair. Yet she wrote these amazing words about her tragedy: 

“My wheelchair was the key to seeing all this happen – especially since God’s power always shows up best in weakness. So here I sit … glad that I have not been healed on the outside, but glad that I have been healed on the inside. Healed from my own self-centered wants and wishes.”

She has turned a disability into an ability, traveling around the world and inspiring countless people. She has turned a seeming setback into stepping stones.
In the book of Hebrews, the Bible lists a group of men and women whose faith grew stronger through experience. And like my friend Joni, they turned their setbacks into stepping stones. I call these great heroes of the faith world changers.

Describing the kind of hardships they faced, Hebrews 11:36–39 says this:

“But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.” (NLT)

One of these heroes, Abraham, carried out one of the greatest acts of faith in human history when God came to him and asked him to offer up his son Isaac.

This was an epic test. 

In many ways, you would have to say that to be tested on this level was quite an honor, because the Lord knew that Abraham could handle it. He knew that Abraham would pass this test. He knew that Abraham would take this setback and turn it turn it into an opportunity.

God asked him to make the greatest sacrifice imaginable. Finally his son, Isaac, had been born. Sarah actually did bring forth that promised child in her old age, and he became the light of Abraham’s life. Abraham doted on the boy. In fact, his very name says it all. “Isaac” means laughter. They loved him.

But could it be that Isaac had actually become the most important thing in Abraham’s life? Or to put it another way: Could it be that Isaac, the son for whom Abraham and Sarah had waited for so long, actually became the idol of their lives?

A lot of things can become idols in our lives, not just bad things. Sometimes even good things, out of their proper place, can become that. For example, people will say, “For me, family is number one. It’s all about family. Nothing is more important than family.” Actually, that is not true. God should be No. 1 in our lives.

Let me say at the outset that it was never God’s intention to have Abraham kill Isaac. Rather, it was a test God knew Abraham would pass. This is why Abraham was effectively a superhero of the faith. He believed that even if Isaac died, God would raise him from the dead. Hebrews 11:19 tells us, “Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again” (NLT). 

In other words, no matter what happened, Abraham knew that God was in control.
So Abraham basically said to Isaac, “Son, come on. We’re going to take a little walk together.” And as they made their way up the mountain, it was beginning to dawn on Isaac what was about to take place.
Here we have a beautiful picture of what happened at the cross of Calvary. I think this is one of the reasons this story is in the Bible. It shows us a father who was willing to sacrifice his son, and a son who was willing to be sacrificed.

As Isaac was lying on the altar and his father raised up the knife, preparing to sacrifice his son, a voice came from heaven: “Abraham! Abraham! … Don’t lay a hand on the boy! … Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:11 NLT).

World changers like Abraham give everything back to God because everything is from God. Our children are a gift from God. We don’t own them; they belong to him. Everything we have acquired in life, every possession, has been given to us by God. Every talent, every skill, and every ability we have is a gift to us from God. And it’s always a good thing to present them to God and say, “Lord, you gave these to me, and I give them back to you.”
Are you willing to do that? Abraham was.

We all have an Isaac in life, so to speak, something or someone we love so dearly. It is a good thing to present that something or someone to the Lord. And there is no safer place to be than in the hands of God.
World changers say to God, “Not my will, but yours, be done.” 

If you want to be a world changer and live by faith, then know that your faith will be tested. We can’t control what will happen in our lives. All we get to do is decide how we will react to whatever comes our way. God is in control. We are not. But we can determine what we will do with what comes our way. World changers turn setbacks into stepping stones.

Published on by Cassie Littel.

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The Joy of Evangelism

It is my firm belief that God can use you to bring others into His kingdom. Why would God tell us to engage in this thing we call evangelism if it were not so? 

Know this: the calling of God is the enabling of God.

I believe that God wants to use all of us to bring people to Himself. The book of Proverbs says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30). Scripture also tells us, "Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who turn many to righteousness will shine like stars forever" (Daniel 12:3NLT).

Let's start with the question of who is called to "go into all the world and preach the gospel" Answer: You are! We are! Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19–20).

In the original language, these words are addressed to everyone. Not just pastors, evangelists, and missionaries, but everyone: businessmen, housewives, students . . .everyone. No one is exempted.

Also, in the original language, this is a command. Jesus is not saying, "If you can find time in your busy schedule, as a personal favor to me, would you mind going into all the world and preaching the gospel?" No, as our Savior, Lord, and Commander-in- Chief. He says "Go!" This is not "The Great Suggestion," but rather "The Great Commission."

If I am His disciple, I am commanded to go and make disciples of others. If I am not making disciples of others, then I'm not really being the disciple He wants me to be! For many of us, however, it is "The Great Omission" instead of "The Great Commission." We are simply not doing it.

Let me say something provocative to you: to not do it is a sin! The Bible tells us, "Any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). But God doesn't want you to share the gospel out of mere duty, but with joy and passion. One of the most exciting and fulfilling things you can do is tell others about Jesus. This message God has given us was meant to be shared, not hoarded. You were blessed to be a blessing. When you do not share, you begin to stagnate; when you do, you revive. Scripture tells us that those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed (see Proverbs 11:25).

We have a choice: evangelize or fossilize!

Published on by Cassie Littel.

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Revival in America

The Bible tells us about a revival that broke out during the days of the prophet Jonah when he preached to Nineveh. The revival started among the people and ultimately affected the king, who also joined in. Sometimes we might think that electing a new president or creating a new law will bring a sense of revival in our nation. But revival needs to start with God’s people. We need to wake up to what it means to be real followers of Jesus Christ.

Revival is a work of the Holy Spirit; it’s not something we can make happen. Revival is God’s responsibility. It’s what God does for us. But listen to this: Evangelism is what we do for God. Preaching the gospel is our responsibility. Christ commissioned us to go into the world and spread the Good News.

So revival is important, and we should pray for an awakening in our country where Americans turn back to God—not whatever they think God is, but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of the Bible. The God that loved us so much He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins and rise again from the dead. America needs to turn back to the Lord again, and we should be praying for that, but in the meantime, we should be busy about the work that He has given to us.

We cannot make a revival happen, but we can make evangelism happen. We can start those conversations. We can share the love of Christ.

Greg Laurie

Published on by Cassie Littel.

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