A Shield Called Faith

A Shield Called Faith

. . . above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  (Eph 6:16, emphasis added)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4, emphasis added)

We see that the Bible mentions a “shield of faith” in Ephesians chapter six.  This is quite an important concept, when you think and meditate upon it.  Shields were used to in ancient times to block attacks from hand-held weapons like swords as well as from projectile weapons such as arrows. 

The shield can also symbolize steadfast principles, commitment, loyalty and protection, which are afforded to us by taking up the spiritual “Shield of Faith” in Christ Jesus, our Savior.  This spiritual shield protects our hearts and minds from the attacks of the enemy which are designed to rob us of peace and joy.  Our spiritual shield also enables us to persevere in times of trials and crisis.

Cling to your confession of faith, brothers and sisters!  Heed Romans 10:8-9:

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Two Things That Can Never Be Changed

Two Things That Can Never Be Changed

God’s promises and God’s vows are two things that can never be changed.  What a firm foundation for faith this fact provides for us!

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.  (Ps 33:11 NKJV)

So when God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. 18 God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.  We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us.  (Heb 6:17-18 CEV, emphasis added)

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.  (Isa 14:24 NKJV)

The Bible tells us in various passages and in different language that God cannot and will not lie.  (Tit 1:2; Isa 40:8)  You can count upon and rely upon the promises of God.  His Word is tested and true.  Let’s see what else the Bible says about this.

Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  (Pro 30:5 NASB)

Your word has been tried and tested; your servant loves your word!  (Ps 119:140 CEB)

Your kingdom will never end, and you will rule forever.  Our Lord, you keep your word and do everything you say.  (Ps 145:13 CEV)

We must stand upon the truth of the Word of God and rely upon His promises to us.  God is the One who guarantees that His Word will most certainly come to pass, and all that we need is faith and perseverance.  Don’t give up and don’t watch the clock or the calendar!  Focus upon God’s nature and His faithfulness.  Focus upon His love for you and upon His past blessings upon you.  Meditate upon all of the answered prayer that you have received, and remember that God hasn’t changed. 

God is the only Being who is the very definition of reliable.  Praise the Lord most High!

Filled with the Spirit

Filled with the Spirit

Today our topic is about being filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues (glossolalia).

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.  (Eph 5:18-19)

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Ac 2:4)

And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (Ac 9:17)

The Bible encourages us to be filled with the Spirit and to praise the Lord and sing hymns and melodies to Him.  What an joy and an honor!

To be filled with anything indicates that all of a person’s faculties are pervaded by it, engaged in it, or under its influence.  We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to allow the Holy Spirit to have such a mighty influence and impact upon us that He is able to pervade and engage literally every area and portion of our being.

When the Bible says that they spoke with “other tongues” it means that they spoke in languages that were not their own.  Acts 2:9-11 lists which languages were heard that day. 

To speak with other tongues – At the building of Babel the language of the people was confounded; and, in consequence of this, they became scattered over the face of the earth: at this foundation of the Christian Church, the gift of various languages was given to the apostles, that the scattered nations might be gathered; and united under one shepherd and superintendent (επισκοπος ) of all souls.  (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

As the Spirit gave them utterance – The word αποφθεγγεσθαι seems to imply such utterance as proceeded from immediate inspiration, and included oracular communications.     (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

There are believers who still speak in tongues today, and who usually operate in the fruit of the Spirit as well as in the gifts of the Spirit.  They typically believe that miracles still happen all over the world because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb 13:8) Hallelujah!

Obedience to God’s Will

Obedience to God’s Will

The Bible says that all those who obey God’s will (which is His Word) live forever and are members of His family. 

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.  (1 Joh 2:17)

For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.  (Mk 3:35)

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  (Mt 7:21)

Clearly this an important subject to the Lord, and it should be important to us, as well.  The Lord says that obedience is better than sacrifice.  (1 Sam 15:22)  Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth to become the Savior of the world.  And we are all the beneficiaries of Jesus’ obedience.

Let’s look at the Bible again:

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3 ESV)

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him . . .   (1 Joh 2:4 ESV)

There is no way to follow Jesus without obedience to the Word of God.  This is an ongoing choice that we make daily—even moment by moment—as we continue to live by faith.  Blessings upon you.

The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt 5:3-12)

In this passage of verses from the Bible, Jesus describes the categories of people that He says enjoy special favor with God. 

These are desirable attributes and personality traits in God’s sight, so we would do well to consider them.

  • The poor in spirit,
  • Those who mourn,
  • The meek,
  • Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
  • The merciful,
  • The pure in heart,
  • The peacemakers,
  • Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and
  • Those who are reviled and persecuted for Jesus’ sake.

Jesus said that if any of us see ourselves in this list that we should rejoice and be extraordinarily happy because we will receive a huge reward in heaven.  People who are described by this list are those who truly follow Jesus Christ, honor Him and respect Him as their example of faith and holiness. 

As we see Christianity more and more under attack around the world, we do well to nurture and build up our faith while we still have the time and opportunity to do so.  Draw near to the Lord with all of your heart and soul, mind and strength, in Jesus’ name.

Press On

Press On

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 3:14)  Paul is saying here that he pursues the reward of living a life in serving God through Jesus Christ.  He considers it a high [important, exalted] calling.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  (1 Cor 9:24)  The apostle is encouraging believers to live their lives as winners and as people who will cross the finish line.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Tim 4:7-8)

In these various passages of Scripture, we believers are being encouraged, influenced and motivated to:

  • Fight the good fight,
  • Finish the race, and
  • Keep the faith.

Just as in any type of race or physical sport, we need to stay spiritually fit to take part in this spiritual race.  We are encouraged to be persistent and consistent, as well as to be constant and committed to our faith.

This is, indeed, a high calling—an important and exalted mission to which Christ has called us and has enabled us by His grace.  Let us rejoice in Him!       

To Whom Should We Pray?

To Whom Should We Pray?

Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray.  (Ps 5:2)

We all know that we direct our prayers to God.  Let’s see what else the Bible says about prayer.

I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.  (Ps 3:4)

When we pray, the Lord hears our prayers. 

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  (Mt 6:9)

Jesus taught us to pray to our Father God, and to honor His name.

. . . that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  (Joh 15:16d)

Whenever we pray to the Father in heaven, Jesus tells us to pray in His name, so that we will receive the request.  (See Joh 14:13)

. . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .  (Eph 5:20)  The book of Ephesians shows prayer to the Father in Jesus’ name with thanksgiving.  The Lord loves a thankful heart.

As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” 60 He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.  (Ac 7:59-60)

This passage demonstrates that Stephen prayed directly to Jesus as Stephen was being stoned to death. 

We should pray in the Spirit, and we should pray in His power.  The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we don’t know WHAT or HOW to pray for a situation or a need.  (Rom 8:26; Jude 20)

In general, when we pray, we pray to “our Father” or even to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We always pray to the Father in the name of Jesus (through His mediation) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said:  For through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  (Eph 2:18 – bracketed word added)  We all have access [admission] to the presence of the Father through Jesus, our Savior.

Pray daily and continuously for the Bible tells us “men ought always to pray.”  (Lk 18:1)  Pray always, whether vocally or silently, because the Bible instructs us to do so.  Pray with confidence, knowing that the Lord hears our prayers and faithfully answers them.

One Blood

There is no room for prejudice against other people due to the simple fact that we are all ONE BLOOD (one race) that have descended from Adam and Eve.  All tribes and nations are descended from the same parents.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.  (Gen 3:20, emphasis added)

These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated(Gen 9:19, underscoring added)

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth . . .  (Ac 17:26a, emphasis added)

Discrimination and bigotry based upon skin color, eye shape, hair types, or any other exterior trait is ridiculous and unjust.  Over the centuries and decades since the Lord created the heavens and the earth, changes have occurred in humanity.  However, they are just that:  exterior. 

Blood types are the same the world over, as are the physical attributes of males and females.  Every nationality of people have the same internal organs and number of bones in their bodies.  We all need teeth to chew our food, tongues to communicate with each other, and arms and legs to get around and to do our work. 

The Father God needed to send only ONE Savior to earth to redeem all of mankind back to Himself!  Jesus is the Savior of every nation, tongue, and tribe on earth.  

One day, ALL of the redeemed from all over the earth will be gathered together to praise, honor, worship and to serve Him for all eternity.  Glory to God!

A Steadfast Heart

A Steadfast Heart

Steadfast means committed, unwavering, reliable and trustworthy.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  (Ps 112:7, underscoring added)

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.  (Pro 1:33)  Wisdom is speaking in the passage.  When we obey wisdom, we obey God.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yahweh, the Lord, is everlasting strength.  (Isa 26:3-4)  When we are focused upon the Lord, with absolute trust, our hearts will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  (Joh 14:1) Jesus is speaking in this verse, and He’s encouraging us to believe in Him.  He’s inviting us to rely upon Him and to have confidence in Him.

The point of these verses that I’ve shared is that under all circumstances, even in the midst of challenges and painful trials, a believer knows the beautiful character of Jesus, and is able to trust Him effortlessly.  Why?  Because Jesus is a good and loving Savior.

The Lord’s plans for us are good plans intended to give us a good future.  We can see the only person who can prevent those plans from coming to pass when we look into the mirror! 

If we don’t cooperate with the Lord, if we don’t trust Him and place all of our faith in Him, then we cannot blame God for whatever mess in which we eventually find ourselves.

Place all of your hope, faith and trust in the Lord.  Yield to God’s plans and His ways, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

Our Lives Are a Message

Our Lives Are a Message

Would it surprise you to learn that the life of each and every follower of Jesus Christ is an epistle (letter) to the world?

. . . clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.  (2 Cor 3:3)

The word epistle means:  letter, communication, or message.  Every person who has accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord is a message to the world!  The Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30), has been given to us as our guarantee or promise that we are born-again.

I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.  (Ps 40:8) 

The verse above teaches us that every human being [saved or unsaved] inherently knows the moral law of God. (Rom 2:14-15)  One reason that this is true is that all mankind has been created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27)

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart . . . (Pro 3:3) 

Mercy and truth are bound up in the Scriptures.  When we memorize and meditate upon God’s Word, we are cooperating with “writing” them upon our hearts.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  (Heb 8:10) 

The Holy Spirit will bless every believer with grace to enable us to memorize passages of the Bible, thereby putting God’s laws in our minds and sowing it into our hearts.  Only the Spirit of the Living God has the necessary power to “write” God’s moral laws upon the heart of a believer.  This Bible passage says that God has made a covenant with us to do these things, and also to be our God. 

The Lord calls us His people, and what an awesome blessing that is.  God bless you!