We’ve Been Warned by the Word

We’ve Been Warned by the Word

We’ve been warned by God’s Word that there are evil times coming upon the earth.  These Scripture verses are all related to what is commonly referred to as “the end times.”  But what should we, the followers of Jesus Christ, be doing in this season?

First, let’s read some of these end times verses:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  (2 Thes 2:3-5 NKJV) 
There will come a time when Christian churches and the people in them may fall away from their faith in Christ.  The person known as the Antichrist will be revealed.  This will usher in the Day of the Lord which will begin a 7-year tribulation period, when God’s righteous wrath shall fall upon the world.  At the same time, the function of the Holy Spirit as the One who holds back evil shall come to an end. 

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.  (Dan 7:25 NIV) 
In a world where almost every semblance of righteousness has been removed, the man of sin will be revealed—that man of lawlessness who is the son of destruction, also known as the Antichrist.  This evil being will blaspheme the Lord and will also continuously persecute and vex any human beings who identify themselves as followers of Jesus.

The important point for us to remember is that the wrath of God is not intended for Christians who love the Lord and obey His Word.  Presently, the world’s evil is being restrained by the prayers of the righteous and the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

We have the serious task of engaging in the work of the Lord until the Lord Jesus comes to take us to be with Him.  We need to spend time in studying the Word in order to deepen our faith.  Let’s continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.  We are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who are lost in their sins so that we may rescue them from an eternity of torment and pain.  And more importantly, as we lead others to Christ, we will be opening for them the path to eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ wherein is unity, harmony, and everlasting love.  Hallelujah!

Mercy, Peace & Love be Multiplied

Mercy, Peace & Love be Multiplied

Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  (Jud 1:2 NKJV)

Take another look at that verse!  The Holy Spirit chose to intensify the blessings of mercy, peace and grace by using the word multiplied.

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Rom 1:7 NIV)

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  (2 Pet 1:2 NIV)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  (Gal 6:15-16 NKJV)

MERCY means:  1) compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm; 2) compassion, kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted.  Mercy is when God decides not to punish us for our sins and wrongdoings.

PEACE means:  1) freedom from disturbance; tranquility; 2) to experience tranquility, harmony, and agreement.  Psalm 7:11 (NKJV) says, God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  But the Lord is not angry with believers.  Jesus has purchased reconciliation and peace between believers and God.  This is the peace that Jesus promised in John 14:27 (NKJV):  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  This is the peace that Jesus experienced in the core of His own pain and suffering that He shares with us.

LOVE:  agape, Greek agapē, in the New Testament; the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God. In Scripture, the transcendent agape love is the highest form of love.  This kind of love is not based on performance or precision; it flows from the pure heart of God.  This is a miracle-working type of love that has been given to us through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  It’s the most selfless and generous form of love we can imagine. 

Jude begins his letter by praying this triad of blessings on all believers:  Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  (Jud 1:2 NKJV)  And he prayed for these blessings to be multiplied to us.  He desires these blessings to come upon each believer in waves of blessings.  He wants these blessings to flourish, proliferate, and be magnified in our lives—that they exceedingly abound!   The blessings of God are found in His mercy, His peace, and His love— which are all revealed through His Son and extravagantly imparted to us by the Spirit.  Glory to God!

Blessed through Abraham

Blessed through Abraham

The followers and servants of Jesus Christ are blessed through Abraham.  This includes all of us who are Christians.

Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.  (Heb 11:12 NKJV)  This verse is referring to Abraham, known as the “father of faith” and honored for his obedience to God.

I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed . . . (Gen 26:4 NIV)  The Lord is speaking to Abraham in this verse.

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”  (Hos 1:10 NIV)  All who believe in Jesus Christ are considered to be spiritual children (offspring) of Abraham.

You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven and brought them into the land
which You had told their fathers to go in and possess.
  (Neh 9:23 NKJV)  God has fulfilled His many promises to multiply the descendants of Abraham exponentially.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  (Gal 3:13-14 NKJV)  Every promise of blessing that was given to Abraham belongs to every follower of Jesus Christ.  Christians are redeemed from every curse through Jesus.

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.  (Gal 3:7 NIV)  Those of us who have active faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord are called by the Lord “children of Abraham.”  Yes, we are blessed!

Pray for the Increase of Evangelism

Pray for the Increase of Evangelism

As believers and followers of Jesus, we’re called to pray for the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to spread over all of the earth. 

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you . . .  (2 Thes 3:1 NIV)  Pray for your Pastor and the missionaries that your church supports that God will bless and prosper their work.  Pray also for the family of your Pastor and the families of the missionaries that you support.

. . . for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.  (1 Cor 16:9 NIV)  Remember that there are spiritual opponents and challengers who stand against the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But the Bible reminds us that God has given us the victory.  It is part of our calling to pray for that victory to be manifested in every evangelistic outreach.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NKJV)

But the word of God increased and multiplied.  (Ac 12:24 NIV)  By the grace and mercy of God, our prayers can turn a situation around by faith in Jesus.

. . . therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Mt 9:38 NIV)  Ask the Lord in your prayers to send out more evangelists so that His good news of salvation may bring about the end-time harvest.

Of course, we should pray for our unsaved relatives and friends to be saved.  It’s a measure of our love for them that we desire to pray for their salvation.  Remember what the Bible tells us: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (Joh 15:7 NIV)  Rejoice!

Do We Have Ears that Hear?

Do We Have Ears that Hear?

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mk 4:23 NKJV)

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!  (Mt 11:15 NKJV)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  (Rev 2:29 NKJV)

The Scriptures talk about people having “ears to hear” quite a bit.  What can that mean to us as believers?

Do you know that God is always speaking to His people?  And our relationship with our Savior is based, as any true relationship is, upon communication! 

To quote Kris Vallotton (Bethel Church, Redding, CA), “Communication is probably the single greatest vehicle of any relationship.”  Prayer is part of our communication with God and listening for His voice is the other part of that two-way communication.  It is our responsibility to do the listening!  Pay attention because the Lord’s voice will often be quiet and unobtrusive. And He may speak to you in ways that you don’t recognize.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  (1 Kgs 19:11-12 NKJV, emphasis added) 

The wonderful thing about God is that He may use various ways to communicate with us.  He uses the Scriptures to communicate clearly with us, but he may also use any of these other methods as well. 

  • Visions:  The Lord may give us visions which are simply images and concepts that play upon the screen of our imagination within our minds.  Visions frequently require interpretation.  So, when the Holy Spirit uses this method to communicate, we need to ask Him to clarify the meaning of the vision.  (See Acts 2:17-18)
  • The still, small voice of the Lord:  This can be perceived as a transient thought, an abrupt but strong impression, or an inner perception of a message from the Lord.  (See 1 Kgs 19:11-13)
  • Creation:  The very creation that God made speaks to us of His power, strength, creativity, provision, and beauty.  Pay attention to any message that the Lord may give you through His creation.  For me, when I was a brand-new believer, I was asking the Lord to show me His love.  I was out with my fiancé driving on a country road.  I kept looking at the beautiful sky above me that was just full of large, puffy, billowy clouds as far as the eye could see in EVERY direction.  As I was observing those clouds, a church song came into my heart in which the chorus includes the phrase:  Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray, in fathomless billows of love!  (Song Wonderful Peace, lyrics by Warren D. Cornell, music by W. George Cooper – 1889) 
    The Lord used nature to communicate His great love for me with the image of fathomless billows of love that were demonstrated to me by the huge, billowing clouds before my own eyes—as far as the eye could see in every direction.  To this day, 50 years later, I have never forgotten that message from the Lord that was just for me.  I cherish it.
  • Circumstances:  God is able to speak to us and to direct us through the circumstances of our lives.  He can open doors of opportunity, or close them, as a way of directing us.  However, we can easily misread a blockage that has been erected by the enemy and think that it is God directing us.  But we would be wrong.  Consequently, we should always seek wise counsel from our Pastor and from other mature believers whom we know very well, and who know us.  Also, we must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us about every step we need to take in our lives.

So, look back upon your life and recall the times when God used any of these various methods to speak to you or to direct you.  Or, you may have a new example of how God communicated something to you.  But the important thing to recognize is that there is communication flowing in your relationship with the Lord.  Thank and praise the Lord for it! When you can receive such communication from God and ACT UPON IT, then you can be assured that you DO have ‘hearing ears’!  God bless you.

The Word of Reconciliation

The Word of Reconciliation

Reconcile means ‘to restore friendly relations between’ one person or entity and another.  The concept of reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus came to reconcile man’s relationship to God.  In doing so, God reconciled Himself to all things through Jesus.  What an accomplishment!

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died . . . (2 Cor 5:14 NKJV)  Jesus Christ took the punishment for all sinners and died on the cross for all sinners in order to pay the debt that we could never pay.  Jesus’ sacrifice was meaningful because, as a human being, Jesus lived a holy, sin-free life.

By restoring our right relationship to God, Jesus also opened the door for us to live in right relationships with each other, with Creation, and with ourselves.  What an accomplishment!

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 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 reconciliation20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 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 5:18-21 NKJV, emphasis added)

The ‘word of reconciliation’ referred to in 2 Corinthians 5:19 is the gospel of Jesus Christ which not only reconciles us to God, but also reconciles us to each other.  That is only possible as each one of us learns the Word of God and continually obeys it.  As we obey the teachings of the Bible and of Jesus Christ, we grow in grace and wisdom daily.

We can see from 2 Corinthians 5:19 that God has given to all believers the ministry of reconciliation.  But what, exactly, does that mean?

As 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, we’re ambassadors (representatives) of Jesus.  As such, our calling is to implore, plead . . . or to BEG unsaved people to be reconciled to God.  We’re asking them to restore friendly relations between themselves and God.  And we have the honor and privilege of explaining to them how easy it is to do that! 

By simply accepting the love of God that is the basis of salvation, and praying a simple prayer, an unsaved person will become reconciled to God.  In accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, such a person restores their right relationship with God the Father. 

In accepting Christ as Savior, all believers have had the seed of eternity placed within their hearts.  What a beautiful and honorable assignment that we have been given!  Glory to God in the highest!

Self-Control Is Ours: Use It

Self-Control Is Ours: Use It

The dictionary definition of self-control is ‘the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.’    Another explanation of self-control is ‘restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.’

The Word of God talks about self-control and how important it is in the life of a believer.

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.  (Pro 16:32 NIV)  The Bible says that a person with self-control is better that a person who conquers a city!  Wow!

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.  (Pro 25:28 NIV)  The Scriptures compare a person without self-control to an unprotected and broken-down city.  This is a small insight into how critical our need is for self-control.  We leave our souls unprotected and open to assault and harm without self-control.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  (Gal 5:22-23 NKJV)  This is a list of the fruit of the Spirit available to all who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Self-control is one of the gifts provided to us by the Holy Spirit.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness . . . (2 Pet 1:5-6 NKJV)  This passage of the Bible teaches us how to diligently build upon our faith in Jesus Christ, which is the foundation for our lives.  There’s an order and a method to the process which the Lord wants us to know.  Each and every part of this process is important and very necessary to our spiritual lives.

One of the greatest points to remember about the gift of self-control is that its ultimate goal is to choose Christ over everything else!  Hallelujah!

The Holy Spirit in Us

The Holy Spirit in Us

As the Scriptures tell us, the Lord has placed His Spirit within all believers.  In some places, the Bible even says that God poured out His Spirit upon us!

 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.  (Ezek 36:27 NKJV)

And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.  (Ezek 39:29 NKJV)

Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.  (Ac 2:33 NKJV)

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  (1 Cor 3:16 NIV)

The person who keeps his commandments abides in God, and God abides in him. This is how we can be sure that he remains in us: he has given us his Spirit.  (1 Joh 3:24 ISV)

We need to listen for the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit daily.  We need to be continuously sensitive to His presence within us.  The Holy Spirit was given to all believers to be a helper and teacher, and to guide us into all truth.  (Joh 14:26; 16:13)

The Holy Spirit within a believer is the source of our revelation, wisdom and power.  (1 Cor 2:10-11; Jas 1:5; Ac 1:8)  The Holy Spirit supplies spiritual gifts to believers.  (1 Cor 12:7-11)  God, the Holy Spirit, has specific roles and obligations in the life of every believer.  Take time as soon as possible to study this key feature of your salvation.  God bless you!

God Will Save

God Will Save

The Bible tells us again and again and again that God is our Savior.  No one saves but God.  It is He who will save us.

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.  (Isa 33:22 NIV)

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not!  Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God.  He will come and save you.”  (Isa 35:4 ESV)

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.  (Mt 1:21 NKJV)

This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.  (Lk 2:11 CEV)

The definition of savior is “a person who saves someone or something (especially a country or cause) from danger, and who is regarded with the veneration of a religious figure.” 

Another definition is:  “ . . . (in Christianity) God or Jesus Christ as the redeemer of sin and saver of souls.”

God foretold the coming of a Savior, and He has fulfilled His Word.  Let us rely upon, put our faith in, and cherish His holy Word.  God be with you.

Who Knows the Things of God?

Who Knows the Things of God?

Who can know the mind and heart of the Lord?  Who knows God’s thoughts?

For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  (1 Cor 2:11 NKJV)

The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.  (Pro 20:27 NIV)

Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?  (Rom 11:33-34 NASB)

The Spirit of God is the only One who knows the thoughts of God.  Even as we humans are the only ones who can know our own thoughts.  No one else can know them unless we share them verbally or in writing.

The Lord has given us His Word in the form of the Bible so that we may know Him better and learn all about His personality, His virtues, and His ways.  We can come to understand His thoughts much more clearly by studying and memorizing His Word.

The Bible teaches us that God’s thoughts are far higher than ours and they are also very different from ours.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
 (Isa 55:8-9 NKJV)

The Bible also reveals to us that God thinks about His people constantly:

But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me.  (Ps 40:17a NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  (Jer 29:11 NKJV)

The good news for us is that God thinks about each one of us all of the time!  His thoughts include planning a good and peace-filled future for each one of us.  Glory to God!