Yes & Amen

Yes & Amen

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  (2 Cor 1:20)

This is a wonderful, blessed, and encouraging Bible verse.  It means that every promise in the Bible is fulfilled through, and guaranteed by, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

But what does that mean, in everyday life, to a believer?

First, the key is to remember that all of God’s words are reliable.  They are firm, constant, and steadfast. God cannot lie. (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Heb 6:18; Tit 1:2)

These promises are fulfilled IN JESUS so it’s crucial to remember that Jesus never changes. (Heb 13:8)  Neither will His promises nor His support of God’s Word ever change.

God is consistent and His love is consistent.  That means that He, His love and His words NEVER FAIL.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  (Ps 13:5)

For with God nothing will be impossible.  (Lk 1:37)

He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever . . .  (Ps 18:50)

And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.  (Josh 23:14)

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.  (Ps 33:5)

. . . so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  (Isa 55:11 NIV)

So, our question from the top of the article is what does this mean for the believer.  First, here are the definitions of the words:   The word Yes means “certainly, absolutely, and positively.”  The word Amen means “I agree” or “Yes, indeed.”

In everyday life, this means that you may choose a Bible verse or several that you would like to come to pass for you in your life.  As you meditate upon the verse (or verses) and keep it in front of your eyes, know that through Jesus, the Lord has already answered:  “certainly; I agree; absolutely; yes, indeed; and positively” to your need.

How glorious!  We serve the God of the impossible!

The Way, the Truth & the Life

The Way, the Truth & the Life

Why did Jesus connect Himself with these three words and how does it impact a life of faith?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  (Joh 14:6)

Jesus said this to His followers the night before He was crucified.  He was preparing them for the challenging days that were ahead of them.

  • Jesus asserts that He is the Way which suggests that faith in Him is the open door to salvation and to eternal life.  This is the truth that the Good News is based upon, and we need to share it with everyone.  God has made the plan of salvation clear, and we have been given the honor of sharing His Gospel with everyone.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (Joh 10:9) This is the Lord saying that He is to Door to Salvation and Eternal Life.   “Finding pasture” means that the Lord will supply all of our needs just as a shepherd cares for all of the needs of his sheep.

. . . that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)  Believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior is the only road to God.

  • Jesus says that He is the Life because He is also the author and source of all of life. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (Joh 1:1-4)  Jesus is the Word made flesh and this verse is the foundation for that truth.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  (Joh 11:25-26)  Jesus makes His claim clearly here that He is the resurrection and the life.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.   (Col 1:16)  All forms of life were created by the Lord.

  • No one would care about or remember Jesus’ claim to be the Way and the Life if He was not also, in reality, the Truth of God.  Jesus’ actions and entire life demonstrate the love, mercy, forgiveness, and miracle-working power of the Father God.  It is no wonder then, that Jesus prays the following prayer:

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  (Joh 17:15-19, emphasis added)

Jesus prayed, “Your word is truth.”  Jesus is known as the living Word of God.  (John 1:1, 14)

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (Rev 19:13)  This verse is referring to Jesus Christ and says that He is called The Word of God.

Jesus is the living Word of God and God’s Word is truth.  Jesus was speaking the truth about Himself!  Praise the Lord!

We Are Friends of God

We Are Friends of God

We are friends of God.  Does that blow your mind?  This truth fills me with joy.

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.  (Jas 2:23)

Abraham’s faith in God qualified him to be called the friend of God.  All who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior are also friends of God, as the Scriptures teach us.

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  (Lk 12:14)  Jesus warns us, His friends, to beware of those who can harm us spiritually rather than physically.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  (Pro 17:17)  Jesus is the Friend who loves each one of us at ALL times!  And in adversity or trouble, He will fight for us.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  (Joh 15:13)  Our Friend, Jesus, has laid down His life for each and every one of us.  Glory to God!

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  (Joh 15:14)  When we obey Jesus and His teachings, we may rest assured that we are indeed His friend.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  (Joh 15:15)  Jesus has taught us everything that He heard from His Father God; and in doing so, has made us His friends. Rejoice in the knowledge that each of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord has become a friend of the Most High God–the Living God!

No Longer a Slave

No Longer a Slave

A slave is a person who is held in a permanent position of servitude to another; a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.  Imagine being the legal property of another human being?  The idea brings up a tremendous sense of outrage in those of us who have been blessed to live in a nation renowned for freedom, as well as a sense of regret, shame and deep sorrow over our nation’s past history.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been set free from all types and forms of bondage or slavery.  Hallelujah!

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (Joh 8:32)  Jesus is the Truth who sets us free.  Jesus tells us that He IS the Truth in John 14:6.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed . . .  (Lk 4:18, emphasis added)  Jesus read these words in the temple in Nazareth.  In Luke 4:21, Jesus went on to say:   And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Jesus clearly states that HE is the fulfillment of this passage originally found in Isaiah 61.  Jesus sets at liberty ALL who are oppressed.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.  (Joh 8:36)  This Scripture could easily read:  “Therefore SINCE the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.” 

Think about this:  Jesus has set us free from all bondage, both external and internal. 
In Jesus we have been set free from:

  • Fear – Fear involves torment. The perfect love that Jesus bestows upon us casts out fear. (1 Joh 4:18) Our Savior and King does not use fear as a tool–ever. 

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15)  Please see also 2 Timothy 1:7.

  • Sin – We have been set free from sin. (Rom 6:18)  We are not under the rule of law but we are under the rule of GRACE.  (Rom 6:14)  There is only one thing it is permissible for us to serve, and that is righteousness“Sin is a power within that is trying to draw you away to worship idols, to compromise, to go and make yourself God rather than submitting to the living God.” ~ Andrew Wilson
  • Death – In Christ, we have received eternal LIFE.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Joh 3:16)
    In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
     (Pro 12:28)

Rejoice in and appreciate the liberty that our Savior has given to each of us.

Avoid the Well-Traveled Path

Avoid the Well-Traveled Path

Do you know what a “well-traveled path” is?  It’s a route or road that hundreds and even thousands of other people have used.  It may have indications of the fact by having a pothole or crack in the road, or a dented safety rail here or there.

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.  (Pro 14:12 NIV)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.  (Pro 16:25 NKJV)       

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  (Lk 13:24 NKJV)

 “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. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mat 7:13-14 NKJV)

In spiritual terms, the well-traveled path is the “way that appears to be right, but in the end leads to death.”  (Pro 14:12 NIV)  This helps us to understand that following Christ as a disciple means that more often than not, we will be living our lives “against the flow.”  While the worldly, unsaved people are going in one direction, believers are going in a completely different direction and along a path that is narrow and difficult.

The verse from Luke 13 (above) reminds us that the narrow gate is the one intended for believers who love Jesus Christ.  But as Matthew 7:14 reminds us, difficult is the way which leads to life (eternal life).

Why is the path to eternal life difficult?  Because it has many challenges to our faith and to our self-control.  There are temptations to sin and also to unbelief, and they are placed in the path by the enemy of our souls.  1 Peter 5:8 says: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  We must be sober and vigilant to guard our relationship with Jesus, and to keep it vital and full of life.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (Joh 14:6)

Jesus is the WAY into eternal life.  He is the person whose footsteps we believers follow.  The path that He traveled IS our roadmap and our path. (Ps 85:13)  We can understand, then, that following only the footsteps of Jesus will cause the trail to be understandably narrow. 

Remember that the Scriptures tell us that God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and a light upon our path.  (Ps 119:105)  His Word will reveal many things to us as we travel along the path of righteousness.

We have been given a promise from the Lord that as we travel the path of righteousness, we will find only life—and no death in any form.  In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.  (Pro 12:28)  This is a very valid and important reason to continue to follow Jesus throughout our lives.

God says that as we obey Him, He makes our paths straight.  
. . . in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Pro 3:6) 

The Lord makes our steps along the way stable and strong as we rejoice in Him and in our salvation.  The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him . . . (Ps 37:23 NIV)  What a promise!  Hallelujah!

Sharing Our Burdens

Sharing Our Burdens

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal 6:2 NIV)  It’s our duty as believers to help bear each others’ burdens.

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:13-14 NKJV)

The first person with whom we share our burdens, after receiving Christ as our Savior, is with the Lord Jesus.  He truly removes our burdens by removing all of our sins, and by continuously cleansing us from unrighteousness.

The troubles in this life are diverse and seem unrelenting at times. In the midst of pressure and heartaches of various kinds, people can stumble.  Even devout followers of Christ may worry and grieve over their circumstances—to the point of feeling crushed by them.  This is why it is so very necessary for Christians to help one another with their burdens, problems and cares.

An important side note is to remember to guard our hearts and minds when supporting another person or family through difficulties so that we’ll remain nonjudgmental and humble. 

We can’t always remove the stressful circumstance, but we can always provide support to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This can be done in practical ways, as well as through spiritual approaches. 

PRACTICAL METHODS

We can offer to help the brother/sister by running errands or babysitting.  If prompted by the Lord, we can give a gift of cash.  It’s considerate to phone the person or couple who’s in stress several times a week to let them know that we’re thinking of them, praying for them, and that we care about them.  Take the person or the family out to lunch or dinner to give them a temporary relief from the stress.  Or you can be more real by inviting them to your own home for a meal.  Depending upon the nature of the trial a friend is undergoing, we can be sensitive to practical things that we can do to relieve some measure of pressure from their daily walk.  If an emergency requires long-distance travel and the person can’t afford their ticket, we can help them to raise the money as the Lord leads us.

SPIRITUAL WAYS

We should pray faithfully for the brother or sister (or family) that is experiencing challenging circumstances.  Enlist other believers to join you in praying for the person or family in crisis.  From time to time, we can send an encouraging greeting card to our brother or sister, and mention an uplifting Scripture verse in a note.  We might make an appointment with our Pastor to inquire if there is any project or fundraising plan that the Church members might undertake that would assist the person or family who is in distress.  We can do some research to see if there are organizations or programs available that could assist the person or family who is in trouble.  If anything appropriate is discovered, we should give them the information. 

Showing our heartfelt concern and support for a person or family who is experiencing stress of any form is a loving, godly, biblical way to bear one another’s burdens. It is also obeying the Scripture that instructs us to love our neighbor.  God approves of our demonstrations of His love through our serving and helping our fellow believers.

Lastly, if anyone who is reading this is experiencing a calamity, please never be ashamed or reluctant to ask your brothers and sisters in Christ for help, prayers, and support. 

Keep in Step With the Spirit

Keep in Step With the Spirit

You may well ask, “How do we keep in step with the Holy Spirit?”  Let’s study that today.

  • Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Gal 5:25 NIV) 

This verse reminds us that we live by the Spirit (of God), so it is important that we walk in unity and harmony with Him.

  • It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (Joh 6:63 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit is the author of spiritual truth and life in all of its forms—physical, spiritual, and mental.  The Lord tells us in this verse that His words are spirit and life, so the more that we read, meditate upon, and memorize the word of God, the more that we are renewed, revived, and refreshed by it.

  • . . . who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:6 NKJV)

Again the Bible affirms in the verse above that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of life in all of its forms:

  1. A long life (Ps 91:16)
  2. An abundant life (Joh 10:10)
  3. A blessed life (Joh 10:10; Jam 1:12; Rev 22:14)
  4. Health and healing (Pro 3:7-8; 4:21-22; 3 Joh 1:2)

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11 But if [since] the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  (Rom 8:10-11 KJV, emphasis & bracketed word added)

This passage from the book of Romans (above) reminds us that the Spirit is life, as well as the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within each and every believer.

The Holy Spirit’s perfect, holy, healthy life is continuously quickened (accelerated, renewed) in each believer because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) 

So, we may reasonably conclude that we “keep in step with the Spirit” by living in agreement with and in obedience to the Word of God, the Bible.  God bless you.

Check Out Your Clothes!

Check Out Your Clothes!

Do you realize that the Bible is concerned with how we clothe ourselves?  Isn’t that an interesting and provoking idea?

For example: 

  • We are invited to clothe ourselves with Christ in Romans 13:14.
  • We are instructed to dress modestly, with decency and propriety but also to clothe ourselves with good deeds in 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 directs us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It also prompts us to put on love which is the personality trait which binds all the others together in unity.

Out of all of these instructions, the encouragement to perform good works is probably one of the most frequently mentioned.

. . . having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.  (1 Pet 2:12 NKJV, emphasis added)

. . . who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  (Tit 2:14 NKJV, emphasis added)

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.  (Tit 3:8 NKJV, emphasis added)

The only way to truly clothe ourselves with good works and holy virtues is through the empowering and enabling grace that we receive through our ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.  Walk in the “Clothing of Salvation”: 

  • The love of God,
  • The grace from God,
  • Faith in God, which is a gift from Him (Eph 2:8-9)
  • The LIFE of God, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit (Pro 12:28; 1 Cor 6:19)

Cling to your relationship with Jesus even as a drowning man clings to a life preserver thrown to him by rescuers.  Jesus provides new grace and strength for each new day, and He will never leave you nor fail you.  Glory to His Holy Name!

Union With Christ

Union With Christ

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  (Rom 6:5-6 NIV)

. . . always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  (2 Cor 4:10 NKJV)

. . . even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . (Eph 2:5-6 NKJV)

These Bible passages are discussing a believer’s union with Christ.  Union with Christ refers to the relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ.  It also refers to a willing loyalty of Christ to the believer, as well as a loyalty of the believer to our Lord Jesus. 

The first 14 verses of Ephesians, chapter One, explain some of the blessings that we receive from being united with Christ.  These passages reinforce our understanding that we are blessed and highly favored by God. 

Unity in Christ—a result of our salvation—brings about an ongoing redemptive work in a believer’s life and conduct.  As we come to know and understand our Savior, and through the Bible learn about our untold blessings, we yearn to live in a manner that is completely pleasing to the Lord.  This is understandable. 

Even as a small child who is loved, valued and protected by their parents will choose to please and obey those good parents—so also does a believer desire to please and to obey our loving and merciful Savior.  From His hand we receive forgiveness, favor, health, prosperity, protection, provision, and the gift of grace to enable us daily. 

Our God is a good God.  He blesses people and nations, whether they acknowledge Him or not.  He places people in governing positions for the sake of giving people order and safety in the world.  He blesses believers individually as we love, obey, and serve Him.

In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness. (Hos 3:5b NLT)  As this Scriptures states, in the end times we will tremble with awe because of the Lord’s magnificence and His unimaginable goodness to mankind.  Glory to God!

Power Belongs to God

Power Belongs to God

All power and all authority belongs to God.  That also means that any power or authority that anyone exercises in any position of authority comes FROM God!  That’s why the Word instructs us to obey governing authorities. 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  (Rom 13:1 NIV)  We’re instructed to obey all who are in authority.

By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, all the judges of the earth.  (Pro 8:15-16 NKJV)  The Lord reminds us that He is the One who establishes kings, princes, nobles, judges, and all who are in positions of authority.

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11 NKJV)  This verse is yet another reminder from God that it is always to Him and to HIS POWER that we submit.

For all power belongs to God, now and forever. Amen.  (1 Pet 5:11 VOICE)  God holds and owns all power FOREVER.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  (Rom 13:2 ESV)  If we resist authority, we resist God Himself, and we invite judgment from God.  Doing such a thing is not a wise move.

Titus 3:1 implies that being submissive to rulers and authorities is the same as being ready for every good work!  If you would like the Lord to credit you with performing good work, submit to and obey those who have authority over you in the world—whether in your family, your church, your community or your work environment. 

God loves to bless the obedient because to Him, obedience is better than sacrifice!  (1 Sam 15:22b)