The New Covenant is Better!

The New Covenant is Better!

Today we’re thinking about various way in which the New Covenant is far better than the Old Covenant.  Please read 2 Corinthians, chapter 3 in preparation (only 18 verses). 

Here are some ideas on how the New Covenant surpasses the Old: 

NEW   1.  The Holy Spirit validates God’s people. (Rom 14:18; Eph 1:6)

OLD    1.  The Holy Spirit strove with God’s people who were rebellious. (Gen 6:3)

NEW  2.  The law is written in our hearts. (Heb 10:16 NLT)

OLD   2.  The law was written on tablets of stone. (Ex 24:12; Deu 4:13)

NEW  3.  We have confidence to draw near to God. (Jas 4:8)

OLD   3.  Only the priests could draw near after performing rituals. (Ex 19:22-24)

NEW  4.  We serve a spiritual truth–salvation is real. (Joh 3:16-17; Col 2:16-17; 1 Pet 2:9)

OLD    4.  The Old Covenant priests served symbols and shadows. (Heb 10:1)

NEW   5.  Gives spiritual life. (John 1:4; 14:6; 2 Cor 3:6; 1 Joh 3:5)

OLD    5.  Revealed spiritual death because the law could only condemn. (Eccl 7:20; Ps 51:5; Isa 59:7)

NEW   6.  God’s glory lives within each of us. (Ps 3:3; Col 1:27; 1 Cor 6:19-20)

OLD    6.  God’s glory was seen for a time upon Moses’ face; it was temporary. (Ex 34:33)

NEW   7.  Gives us a living righteousness. (Rom 3:22; 2 Cor 5:21)

OLD    7.  Could not impart righteousness but could only offer forgiveness. (Num 14:19; 2 Sam 12:13; Rom 4:13)

NEW   8.  Unveils the heart. (2 Cor 3:16)

OLD    8.  Required a veil. (2 Cor 3:13, 15)

NEW   9.  Sanctifies and transforms us. (Acts 26:18; Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 3:18)

OLD    9.  Could only unmask, condemn and slay people. (Gen 6:5; Eccl 7:20; Isa 59:7; 64:6)

I hope that this article has encouraged you and reminded you of how greatly we are blessed through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  

Getting Out of the Slump

Getting Out of the Slump

What is a slump?  It can be defined as:  sluggishness; lethargy; boredom; or stagnation.  Do you ever feel like you’ve gotten into a spiritual slump and have just been treading water?  We’re going to consider how to extricate ourselves from just such a slump.

Let’s look at the Bible:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (Eph 3:14-21)

I was taught that this passage makes an excellent basis for prayer for ourselves and loved ones.  It’s also a great basis for prayer for spiritual disciples and spiritual children.

To get out of a slump, we need to pray this passage over ourselves.  So what is it that we’re asking for?  We’re asking God to give us:

  • Strength in our inner man through the Holy Spirit, (Ps 18:32)
  • Christ’s indwelling presence by faith, (1 Joh 4:13)
  • A foundation in His love, (1 Joh 4:8)
  • A deep comprehension of and experience of God’s perfect love, and
  • The fullness of God alive within us. (Eph 4:13; Col 2:9)

We receive everything from God by grace through faith.  Grace is God’s part and faith is our part of the process.  When we are born again (saved), Christ makes His home in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As we grow in our Christian walk, we study God’s word and obey it with joy and gladness.  This kind of obedient life causes us to gradually come to know the love of God more fully and completely; and we become filled with the fullness of God.  Love is the atmosphere in which God dwells, because GOD IS LOVE.  (1 John 4:8)

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.  (Joh 14:21)

As the verse above says, our obedience to God’s word demonstrates our love for God.  And Jesus says that to such a person, He will manifest (reveal) Himself.  This is what being filled with the fullness of God is all about.  It will elevate you out of any slump anytime, and places you back in your seat in the heavenlies.  (Eph 2:6)  Blessings upon you!

Is God Interested in Little Things?

Is God Interested in Little Things?

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”  (Lk 12:6-7)

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  (Mt 6:28-30)

The two passages of the Bible shown above illustrate the fact that God cares about such “little” things as feeding tiny birds, numbering the hairs on our heads, and clothing the grass with beautiful flowers!  Jesus is the Person who is speaking in each of these passages, so He wanted us to know this truth.

We need to realize that compared to God—His power, majesty, and attributes—literally everything is little!  But our creator God cares about everything and everyone He has made, down to the smallest details.  It is He who upholds and sustains our lives.  (Ps 3:5; 71:6; Isa 46:3b)

It is our God who has made provision for our healing according to Psalm 107:19-20; Isaiah 53:4-5; Malachi 4:2a; 1 Peter 2:24; and Matthew 8:17.  The God we serve is our refuge and strength; a very present Help in trouble (Ps 46:1), and a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.  (Pro 18:24) 

The Bible tells us that:

  • Those who seek the Lord shall not lack ANY good thing. (Ps 34:10b)
  • As we delight in Him, God gives us the desires of our hearts. (Ps 37:4)
  • God daily loads us with His benefits and blessings. (Ps 68:19)
  • The blessing of the Lord makes one rich. (Pro 10:22)
  • With God, ALL things are possible. (Mk 10:27)

These passages depict a God who loves to be involved in our lives, and who is concerned about every detail (no matter how small) of our lives.  Not only is the Lord concerned, but He provides answers and solutions for every need!

Rejoice in His love, and in His attention to every facet and need of our lives. 

God Resists the Proud

God Resists the Proud

The Scriptures have a lot to say about pride.  Most of the verses and passages criticize and denounce pride.  There are many more verses on this topic in addition to those that I’ve shared below.

  • To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. (Prov 8:13 NIV)
  • When pride comes, then comes shame . . .  (Pro 11:2)
  • By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. (Pro 13:10)
  • The Lord detests all the proud of heart. be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Pro 16:5 NIV)
  • Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  (Pro 16:18-19)
  • But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (Jas 4:6)

The Lord doesn’t want us to have a haughty and proud attitude towards other people.  He never approves of us feeling that we are better or more valuable than another individual.  This is the kind of pride that God sets Himself against because it puffs us up and blinds us to our own faults.  This is the pride that cuts us off from other people.  No one chooses to be around or to befriend a supercilious, self-important person.

We are allowed to recognize and receive satisfaction from our own work and our accomplishments as long as we recognize that they make us no more valuable than anyone else, and that God blessed us and enabled us to accomplish them.

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else . . .   (Gal 6:4 NIV)

The Bible says, I know that there is nothing better for people than to … find satisfaction in all their toil—this is a gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

The pride that cuts us off from other people displeases God because He has a different vision for His people.  His plan is for us to work in unity and harmony, carrying one another’s burdens, and serving Him with excellence and joy together.  (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 13:4; Col 3:23; Gal 6:2-3)

An even worse outgrowth of poisonous pride is that it cuts us off from God, Himself!  When the enemy persuades us to be conceited and proud, we no longer feel that we need anyone else; so pride causes us to turn away from God. 

In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.  (Ps 10:4 NIV)  This is a catastrophic state of affairs. 

Rather, let us humbly thank God for giving us talents and abilities; and determine to use what we have received to bring glory and honor to God.

The Name of Jesus

The Name of Jesus

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.  (Lk 1:31)  God the Father told Mary, through an angel, the name that she was to give to her firstborn child.  (You may read Luke 1:26-35 for the entire account of Mary’s encounter with the angel.)

. . . but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  (Joh 20:31)

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”  (Acts 3:6)

Today, we’re considering the Name of Jesus and some of the blessings that we enjoy through His name.  The first blessing that we receive through faith in the name of Jesus is salvation and eternal life. 

We’re also baptized into His name, and through it receive the Holy Spirit.  In Acts 3:6 we observe that there is healing in the name of Jesus.  Hallelujah!  There’s deliverance In the name of Jesus.  (Acts 16:18)  We believers are washed, sanctified, and justified in His name.  (1 Cor 6:11)

In the name of Jesus, we’ve been given power and authority over evil spirits and over all of the power of the enemy.  (Lk 10:18-20)

. . . which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church . . . (Eph 1:20-22)

This verse in Ephesians demonstrates that God has elevated the name of Jesus above ALL names—in this age and in the ages to come.  God has made Jesus to rule over all things and to be the Lord and Master over all. 

Let us honor the beautiful name of Jesus.

What Is Your Calling?

What Is Your Calling?

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  (Rom 11:29, underscoring added)

 . . . so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  (Rom 12:5-9)

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  (1 Cor 1:26, underscoring added)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . (Eph 4:1, underscoring added)

A calling can be defined as a vocation, occupation, mission or passion.  What do you feel that God has called you to accomplish in this life?  If you’re between the ages of 19 and 30, you may not have a fully formed idea of what you’ve been called to do.  If you DO know, then you are most exceptionally blessed!

However, if you’re like most of us, your calling may unfold in layers or even stages of life.  I felt called to be a wife and mother for the largest portion of my life.  In the two years prior to my youngest child’s high school graduation, I felt a type of spiritual and emotional shifting taking place within me.

I didn’t know quite what it was all about, but after a time of prayer, felt the Lord tell me that He was preparing me for a different direction in life.  It was over the many months that followed that I felt called to the ministry.  The Lord gave me training and mentors, and then opened doors of ministry to me.  I was given several ministry positions and discovered that I enjoyed ministering to God’s people immensely.  I was also surprised to realize that I have a zeal and a love for it.

I’m sharing my experience so that you may realize, as I have, that God can and does give us different gifts and talents in different seasons of our lives.  He likes us to be useful and fulfilled over the course of our entire lifetimes.  Praise God!

 I hope that this article will give you encouragement concerning your own life, gifts, and calling.

How Can I Go to Heaven? Part 2

How Can I Go to Heaven? Part 2

We are continuing with our topic from the last article. 

Here are various Bible passages that tell us what we need to do in order to go to heaven when our physical body dies.

  • Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:32)  Jesus is speaking in this verse.
  • 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)
  • And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (Joh 6:40)
  • And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Joh 10:28)  Jesus is speaking here.
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lor (Rom 6:23)
  • . . . that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  (2 Cor 5:19)
  • For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21)
  • In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 Joh 4:9-10)

In order to enter into heaven, all of these Scriptures point us to the person of Jesus Christ.  Once we believe the truth of these verses and accept Jesus as our own, personal Savior and Redeemer, we are born again or “born anew.”  In fact, we become a new creation in Christ Jesus.  (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:10; Rom 6:3-4) 

Once we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we’re qualified to enter into heaven.  We also become eligible to receiving the benefit of every promise of blessing that is shown in the Bible!  Knowing that this is true prepares each one of us to lead lives of significance in the here and now.  Choose living for Jesus right now, and an eternity  in Heaven for yourself today!